Michigan State Senator Introduces Legislation to Ban R-word Mascots

Michigan State Capitol – Native News Online photo by Levi Rickert

Published June 26, 2017

LANSING, MICHIGAN – State senator Wayne Schmidt (R-37th Senate District) has introduced a legislation that would forbid the use of the R-word mascot in public schools in Michigan.

The R-word is highly offensive to most American Indians and is comparable to the N-word to African Americans.

Sea of red shirts in Paw Paw, Michigan on January 18, 2017. Native News Online photo by Levi Rickert.

In recent years, some school districts, out of respect to the wishes of American Indians in the community, have eliminated the use of the offensive use for sports mascot and other sports imagery. While others such as the Paw Paw Public Schools that voted in February 2017 to retain the offensive term–against the wishes of American Indians who attended several contentious community meetings.

The district Senator Schimidt serves has four federally recognized tribes within it: the Bay Mills Indian Community, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Little Traverse Bays Bands of Odawa Indians and Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

The bill introduced last Thursday, June 23, 2017, remains in committee.



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