LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Civil Rights filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, on Friday asking the federal agency to issue an order prohibiting the continued use of Native American mascots. The lawsuit involves 35 schools in Michigan including several in West Michigan.
“A growing and unrebutted body of evidence now establishes that the use of American Indian imagery reinforces stereotypes in a way that negatively impacts the potential for achievement by students with American Indian ancestry,” the filing argues. “Continued use of American Indian mascots, names, nicknames, logos, slogans, chants and/or other imagery creates a hostile environment and denies equal rights to all current and future American Indian students and must therefore cease.”
West Michigan schools named in the filing include: Athens Indians, Belding Redskins, Dowagiac Chieftains, Hartford Indians, Morley-Stanwood Mohawks, Paw Paw Redskins, Remus Chippewa Hills Warriors, Saranac Redskins, Saugatuck Indians, Tekonsha Indians, White Cloud Indians, White Pigeon Chiefs.