The Iowa Civil Rights Commission is calling for schools statewide to stop using Native American images, mascots and team names. Commission chairman David Lesh says names like the Braves, Warriors or Redskins can be very offensive to members of Native American tribes who live in Iowa.A few colleges and a couple hundred middle and high schools in Iowa are still using these types of names. Lesh says the use of such names and mascots is disrespectful and insensitive to Native Americans and others who oppose such stereotyping. He says most of the extreme names like “Redskins” no longer exist as schools changed them.The Iowa Civil Rights Commission passed a resolution as part of Martin Luther King Junior Week for schools to reconsider their mascots and logos, but the panel has no authority to order changes. Lesh says he hopes Iowa legislators will consider action on the issue. He says the mascot names likely were not chosen originally with the intent to degrade.He says schools need to respond to the changing times when groups that are affected indicate there’s a problem. Lesh says other team names, like the Vikings or Fighting Irish, also use stereotypes that could be considered negative. A few years ago, Simpson College in Indianola changed its mascot from the Redmen to the Red Storm, while Morningside College in Sioux City changed from the Chiefs to the Mustangs.
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