The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunity is calling for an end to the use of Native American images as school mascots in the state.
CHRO, a government civil rights agency responsible for enforcing the state’s anti-discrimination laws, issued a press release on the matter Tuesday afternoon, urging schools to stop using the names, symbols and images of children. Native American Indians / Alaska Native (AI / AN) for its sports teams.
The press release reads in part:
âA sports mascot is a symbol animated by its fans. Reflected in an image, a name and often a costume, a mascot is, at its core, a caricature of the group it aims to represent. diaspora of indigenous communities to a stereotypical image and label. This image is then brought to life not by the community it is meant to represent, but by gamers and fans who know little about AI cultures and identities / AN. Fans masquerade as AI / AN people and laugh, often resorting to stereotypes and slurs when cheering or mocking teams at sporting events. âtribes,â engage in the âTomahawk cut,â beat âwar drumsâ and wear âwar paint.â These acts are totally devoid of any cultural context and are a matter of cultural appropriation. “
The agency cited a University of Michigan study that found that the use of Native American mascots creates a hostile learning environment for AI / AN students and compromises the educational experience of non-Native American students by not providing them with not a precise understanding of AI / AN communities.
âThe practice of using Native American names and images as part of the educational experience has been around for too long in Connecticut,â said Tanya Hughes, executive director of CHRO. âThe use of these names is an act of racist appropriation, and that doesn’t even take into account the growing evidence of quantifiable harm done to all students. While we understand that this can be a challenge for some communities, it is time for this practice to cease. “