Indian Mascots

Indian Mascots

The controversy surrounding Indian mascots and how different groups are working to change many of these symbols to better representations of school spirit.

Premiere date: Oct 05, 2010


About the Program

For decades Wisconsin high schools have used Indian mascots. Now, new laws eliminate sports mascots based on Native American themes. On the next television broadcast of Teen Connection a panel of young people and adult experts will explore the controversy surrounding Indian mascots and discuss how different groups are working to change many of these symbols to better representations of school spirit. 

2009 State Act outlawed the use of race-based nicknames, logos and mascots for Wisconsin's schools. Enforcement is based on complaints and compliance and has not yet been full. According to the Wisconsin Indian Mascot and Logo Task Force, 30 of the 65 high schools in the state that used Indian-based mascots had eliminated their references by May 2010. That has left 35 more schools still using mascots such as Indians, Chiefs, Braves and Warriors. 

In this edition of Teen Connection, teens from the Menominee Reservation and Prescott schools who have worked to end the use of high school Indian mascots will discuss their work and perceptions of the issue. 

Richie Plass, the curator of an exhibit of Indian stereotypes and imagery at the Menominee Cultural Center in Keshena, will join the show to discuss his work to end Indian mascots. 

Jeff Ryan, a teacher from Prescott High School, will discuss his work with the state legislature leading up to the new law's passage. 

Brian Vogeltanz, the Chairman of the Kewaunee Board of Education will also be part of the panel to discuss his school district's elimination of their Indian mascot. The school will unveil its new mascot as part of this year's homecoming festivities. 

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Host Kathryn Bracho appears courtesy of WBAY-TV/Green Bay.