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Iowa school board votes to drop Native American mascot

March 16, 2021 GMT

CAMANCHE, Iowa (AP) — An eastern Iowa school board has voted to drop the district’s “Indians” nickname and mascot following renewed appeals this year to do so from Native American tribes and organizations.

The Camanche Community Schools board voted 5-1 Monday night to stop use of the mascot by the end of the school year, the television station KWQC reported. The mascot was adopted in 1961 when the school opened.

“Quite honestly, our school mascot is a stereotype,” Camanche Superintendent Thomas Parker said.

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A new mascot was not immediately chosen.

The decision comes as teams on all levels across the country are changing or reconsidering mascots considered to be culturally insensitive. The Washington Football Team of the NFL dropped its Redskins mascot last year, and Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves have stopped using the Chief Wahoo mascot. The Kansas City Chiefs are under pressure to end the traditional “war chant” by fans that uses a chopping hand motion designed to mimic the Native American tomahawk.

Most spoke in favor of keeping the mascot during the Camanche meeting’s public forum, citing pride in the nickname. Some denounced the move as “cancel culture.” But board member Shane Bark said there have been calls for 30 years for the district to drop the mascot.

“How are we honoring the Native Americans by ignoring their repeated requests to remove the Indian mascot?” Bark asked.