Sunday, February 23, 2014

Native Americans Bring Mascot Debate to Idaho Statehouse

Posted By on Sun, Feb 23, 2014 at 10:12 AM

A Southeastern Idaho lawmaker promised to forward the concerns expressed by Idaho members of Native American tribes over offensive nicknames and mascots of Gem State sports teams. And while Grace Republican Rep. Marc Gibbs told tribal members that he would distribute "a letter to the entire Legislature," he doubted that any legislation on the matter would come forward anytime soon.

In particular, tribes say they're insulted by American slang being formally used to name sports teams and mascots in a number of districts, including Driggs, Lewiston, Nez Perce and Salmon.

This morning's Idaho State Journal reports that during a Feb. 21 Statehouse meeting of the Idaho Council on Indian Affairs, Fort Hall Business Council Chairman Nathan Small reiterated how offensive nicknames such as "Redskins" and "Savages" continue to be.

But Gibbs said, "I don't think legislation's in order. I don't think that's how you want to fix it."

Instead, Gibbs said he'll talk about the sensitivity of the mascot issues, "and just ask individual legislators that may have schools that may be using Native American mascots and try to discuss the subject and issue with them."


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