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Michigan Department of Civil Rights Complaint Over American Indian Mascots Based on Science

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Warriors, Redskins, Braves, Chiefs, Mohawks, and Chieftains are going to have to reconsider their mascot names and images if the Michigan Civil Rights Commission gets their way.


From Capac to Lansing, 35 schools have been warned that these names and/or images reinforce a negative stereotype of American Indians that negatively impacts student learning.


The Michigan Department of Civil Rights filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education suggesting funding to schools that continue to use these names should be denied.


In an interview with Brenda Brissette-Mata and Dan Foley on Flint’s Newstalk 1470, WFNT, Leslee Fritz of the MDCR pointed out that “It’s not about feelings,” it’s about research. The claim cites 43 references that refer to studies or opinions that support the claim of negative impact on student learning.


While names like Warriors, Braves and Chiefs can hardly be considered derogatory, but you can’t argue with terms like Redskins and Reds, that have long been considered offensive to the Native American community. And for some, it’s the image more than the name.


The Atlanta Braves have finally changed their logo. The once popular “screaming Indian” has been shelved and the new logo is a script “A”… for Atlanta.


It’s a tough argument in local communities. Schools and alumni have strong connections to their mascots. But is a mascot name that might be considered insulting to a whole community of people worth fighting over?


We could ask how American Indians feel about the controversy. Are they offended or insulted or are they honored by these symbols and images? But in the case being brought by the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, it’s not about how they feel, it’s about a cause and effect study that determines there is more to be concerned about than one community’s feelings.


In ten years, if these mascots and images are erased, will we see that it made a difference? Only time will tell.


Share your thoughts.


Here is the link to the press release from the MDCR:,4613,7-138–294605–,00.html


Here is a link to the 43 references in the complaint:


Here is a link to the list of schools with images of their mascots:

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