State holds public hearing on Native American mascot ban

Lawmakers are considering a bill to ban Native American mascots at public schools

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Dozens of schools across Massachusetts have Native American mascots or logos, and proposed legislation would prohibit their use at the state’s public schools.

Lawmakers heard public testimony Tuesday, on proposed legislation to ban the use of Native American team names, mascots and logos at public schools across the state. Some argue the logos promote stereotypes of Native Americans, but one Agawam resident said a ban would be an overreaction.

“It’s overblown,” Mark Watson told 22News. “They’re meddling with something that doesn’t need to be changed. I think people are looking for ways to be offended today, and I don’t think it’s necessary.”

Others said the public forum is important, because it opens up a dialogue.

“Especially around in this area, it’s harder to get the opinion from people of color, and it’s definitely worth having that debate in schools and in the communities and having people of color who may be offended by it coming and sharing their stories about why it needs to change,” Emma Kubetin said.

If the proposed legislation passes, team names including Indians, Redmen, Chiefs and Braves would be prohibited.