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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Minatare School Board needs to change schools mascot

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Minatare School Board needs to change schools mascot

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To the Board of Education of Minatare, Nebraska, and the community of Minatare, I appeal to you to change your mascot name and image. The shift in consciousness we are all going through in this country shouldn’t be lost on your community and today is an opportunity to right one wrong that has been perpetuated for over a hundred years. The National Congress of American Indians has called for an end to Indian sports mascots due to the harm they cause. I am asking for you to voluntarily give up your American Indian mascot and choose something less offensive.

We all live on stolen land no matter how you view our history. This land, including Minatare, is unceded treaty land and to continue using a Native American mascot on land we have no inherent right to is an act of racism and harmful stereotyping being perpetuated on the Native Original people of this area and nation-wide. It is cultural appropriation in the worst way. There is no such thing as the use of a Native mascot in a respectful manner. Any use of a Native mascot is disrespectful. This cannot be used as an argument to keep it.

Colorado recently introduced a bill to ban the use of American Indian mascots in all public schools. This is the right thing to do and is long overdue. Senator Jessie Danielson, (D) Colorado, stated “The use of these derogatory mascots are harmful to native youths and non-native youths. It perpetuates harmful stereotypes that are harmful to our entire community.”

It is not impossible to let go of a symbol that you identify with simply because of school or community “pride”. It is not impossible to make a change that will serve others as well as your own community. It is not impossible to have a conscience regarding the equity of others who have been oppressed and marginalized since our ancestors came here. In fact, to refuse to do so speaks to your white privilege and sense of entitlement. This is what we must dismantle.

I hope as a community you will take the lead and be an inspiration to others by being willing to make this change and be anti-discriminatory.

Cindy Cochran

Torrington

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