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Marquette Area Public Schools and Camden-Frontier Schools located in Michigan have announced that they will officially be changing their mascots, which have both used Native American mascot imagery, as well as the use of offensive Native American slurs, including “Redskin” and “Redmen.” 

Marquette will now be known as the Sentinels, and Camden-Frontier will become the RedHawks.

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Last summer, the board voted 4-3 to abolish the Marquette Senior High School Redmen/Redettes nickname and began the process of rebranding. On Jan. 22, Sentinels was chosen as the new nickname with a vote of 6-1. 

While Camden-Frontier is the last school in the state to use the name Redskins, in May of 2023, the district’s Board of Education voted 4-3 to retire the mascot effective immediately and phase out its use by June 2024. 

Other Michigan school districts, like Sandusky Community Schools in Sanilac County and Saranac Community Schools in Ionia County, also used the offensive term before rebranding.

Camden-Frontier officials told News 8 affiliate WLUC-TV that the name change will cost the school district an estimated $40,000, which will cover the cost of new jerseys, equipment, signage, and website domains. 

Since 2016, the Native American Heritage Fund (NAHF) has distributed more than $1.5 million in grants to cover costs associated with rebranding. Several Michigan schools have worked with NAHF to cover those costs. 

In 2003, The Michigan Board of Education adopted a resolution that supported the elimination of Native American descriptors and mascots by all Michigan schools. The resolution states that “it supports and strongly recommends the elimination of American Indian mascots, nicknames, logos, fight songs, insignias, antics, and team descriptors by all Michigan schools”. 

In 2013, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, asking the federal agency to issue an order prohibiting the continued use of American Indian mascots, names, nicknames, slogans, chants, and imagery. 

“A growing and unrebutted body of evidence now establishes that the use of American Indian imagery reinforces stereotypes in a way that negatively impacts the potential for achievement by students with American Indian ancestry,” the filing argued.  

Marquette Area Public Schools is taking public submissions for a design of its new logo for the Sentinels.  

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About The Author
Kaili Berg
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Staff Reporter
Kaili Berg (Aleut) is a member of the Alutiiq/Sugpiaq Nation, and a shareholder of Koniag, Inc. She is a staff reporter for Native News Online and Tribal Business News. Berg, who is based in Wisconsin, previously reported for the Ho-Chunk Nation newspaper, Hocak Worak. She went to school originally for nursing, but changed her major after finding her passion in communications at Western Technical College in Lacrosse, Wisconsin.