NARF Staff Attorney Matthew Campbell testifies before Colorado House Education Committee on American Indian mascot bill
On Monday, NARF Staff Attorney Matthew Campbell testified before the Colorado House Education Committee in support of House Bill 15-1165. Matt testified on behalf of NARF and the Tribal Education Departments National Assembly.
The bill, sponsored by Representatives Salazar and Melton, would create a Mascot Subcommittee for the consideration of the use of American Indian mascots in Colorado public schools and public institutions of higher education. The Mascot Subcommittee would evaluate the use of American Indian mascots in Colorado schools and determine whether the mascot should be approved or disapproved.
The purpose of the bill is to phase out the use of disparaging American Indian mascots and team names in Colorado schools. Under the bill, an American Indian mascot is automatically deemed approved if it refers to a single federally recognized American Indian tribe and that specific tribe has permitted the use of the mascot. Otherwise, disapproved mascots must be retired within two years of notice of disapproval. Schools and school districts that receive notice that a mascot is disapproved face a penalty for continued use if the mascot is not retired within the prescribed timeframe. Those schools whose mascots are disapproved may apply for a grant to mitigate costs associated with changing their mascots.
After consideration on the merits, on a vote of 6-5, the Education Committee recommended that House Bill 15-1165 be referred favorably to the House Appropriations Committee. The bill will go before the Appropriations Committee at a date yet to be determined.