American Indians Oppose Bill that Would Prevent Banning Mascots - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Nashville, TN

American Indians Oppose Bill that Would Prevent Banning Mascots

NASHVILLE, TN - A Choctaw activist told Tennessee lawmakers that a bill that would prevent the banning of American Indian mascots at schools is disrespectful and unconstitutional.

Evangeline Lynch told the Senate State and Local Government Committee yesterday that American Indians are not mascots.

It's an issue that has been the topic of much discussion and controversy across the nation in recent years, including Jonesboro, Arkansas, where Arkansas State University's nickname is "Indians" and the school is represented by "Chief Big Track" and an "Indian Family" as its mascots.

A proposed bill would ban Tennessee from prohibiting public or private institutions from continuing to use Indians for symbols, names and mascots.

House sponsor Mike Bell said he proposed the bill after American Indian activists asked the state to ban what they considered offensive Indian mascots and symbols in state public schools.

The activists said about two dozen high schools and 80 middle and elementary schools in Tennessee use Indians in their team name.

Lynch, a former teacher in Obion County, said the bill denies American Indians equal protection and violates their equal rights.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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