Tell the MA Joint Committee on Education: Vote to move S.245/H.477 favorably out of Committee.
Please remember to personalize your letter!
The Joint Committee on Education needs to vote the mascot bill favorably out of its committee. This is a step forward in eliminating Native American mascots in Massachusetts.
We call on the Massachusetts State legislators to move S.245/H.477 favorably out of Committee.
Academic research reveals that Native American mascots create a hostile climate for Native Americans, and increase bias among non-Native people, which is clearly not educationally sound. In particular, for Native American students, exposure to these mascots decrease self-esteem and capacity to imagine future achievement, and increase negative feelings. You can find these research findings here: https://najanewsroom.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/DavisDelanoGoneFryberg2020.pdf
Native American mascots are representations of Native Americans, and thus it is Tribal Nations who should determine whether they are acceptable. Multiple Tribal Nations in Massachusetts, as well as the National Congress of American Indians, support eliminating mascots from public schools.
You can find their letters here:• National Congress of American Indians Mascot Letter
• Chappaquiddick Mascot Letter
• Herring Pond Mascot Letter
• Mashpee Mascot Letter
• Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag Mascot Letter
• Hassanamisco Nipmuc Band Mascot Letter
• Pocasset Wampanoag Letter
It is important to understand why the state legislature should address this issue, rather than leaving this up to towns. First, mascots leave their towns when people travel and via media coverage. Second, many towns are unwilling to eliminate Native mascots. Third, school committee members sometimes lose their seats in the next election solely based on their vote to eliminate these mascots. Further, students and school administrators who work for elimination of Native mascots often face bullying and harassment. Lastly, local struggles over Native mascots generate a hostile climate for Native Americans who live in the region, and there is often an undue burden on Native people to travel to speak about these mascots.