Letter from Native American Group Seeks Mascot Changes - WBAY

Letter from Native American Group Seeks Mascot Changes

Weyauwega -

A Native American group is asking schools to drop race based mascots out of respect for Wisconsin's tribes.

The Wisconsin Indian Education Association sent a letter to the state's 31 school districts with Native American mascots including Berlin and Weyauwega-Fremont.

Hoping to encourage change the letter, outlines specific reasons why it believes Native American mascots should be voluntarily dropped saying that they're, "damaging to our children's self esteem and set up barriers to their educational success."

Barbara Munson, of the WIEA says they also promote negative stereotypes.

"I'm hoping that people will first off look at it, read it, and see where we're coming from to better understand what our position is," said Munson. 

The plea comes after Governor Scott Walker signed a bill in December that makes it harder to force public schools to drop such mascots.

The new law requires a petition and the complainant has to prove the nickname is racist rather than the school.

The Indian mascot has been used in the Weyauwega-Fremont school district since the very beginning, but the logo was changed to the WF symbol as a compromise back in the spring of 1999.

Still the Indian nickname remains in tact.

Superintendent Scott Bleck said, "It's worked for our community. Our community stands behind our logo and motto and we're very proud of that."

In Berlin the school board met in January to discuss it's Indian mascot.

The district has since appointed a sub-committee to gather feedback but a previous plan to drop the mascot by July has been scrapped.

Meanwhile, the WIEA plans to address the issue further on Wednesday in a meeting with legislators.


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