February 14, 2020
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Schools that use Native American imagery for their logo or mascot would be required to have written consent from nearby Native American tribes and meet other criteria under a bill introduced by state Rep. Maurice West.
“Sports logos and mascots should not be used to caricaturize and misrepresent cultures,” West said. “If the legitimate intent of a school is to honor local Native Americans, this measure provides the opportunity to secure approval from a nearby tribe.”
West’s House Bill 4783 would prohibit schools from using a Native American logo or mascot unless:
The school receives express written consent from a Native American tribe within 500 miles of the school, which must be renewed every five years;
Conducts a school-wide program on Native American culture at least twice per school year;
Offers a course of study to students focusing on Native American contributions to society;
Files an annual report to the Illinois State Board of Education explaining what academic programs on Native Americans were offered during the school year.
Failure to comply with these guidelines would prohibit the school from competing in any playoffs.
“There are logos and caricatures that have been used through the course of sports history that should have never existed and deserve to be left in the past,” West said. “This legislation is an opportunity to ensure we are teaching our children how to properly respect the heritage and culture of Native Americans we draw inspiration from.”