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Native American mascot laws and regulations


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The use of terms and images referring to Native Americans/First Nations as the name or mascot for a sports team is a topic of public controversy in the United States and in Canada, arising as part of the Native American/First Nations civil rights movements. Since the 1960s, there have been a number of protests and other actions by Native Americans and others targeting the more prominent use of such names and images by professional franchises such as the Cleveland Indians and the Washington Redskins. However, the greatest change has occurred in the trend by school and college teams that have retired Native American names and mascots at an increasing rate in recent decades. The analysis of a database in 2013 indicates that there are currently more than 2,000 secondary schools with mascots that reference Native American culture, compared to around 3,000 fifty years ago. Many of these changes have been voluntary as the issue has been discussed at a local level. Statewide laws or school board decisions mandating change have been passed in states with significant Native American populations. Other states have official policies that encourage change in accordance with principles of establishing a proper environment for education. However, there has also been resistance and backlash, usually when statewide laws have been viewed as an intrusion into local communities, where no need for change has been established.
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