Wisconsin law allows Indian mascots to be banned

The days are numbered for Wisconsin public schools that ignore calls for an end to their using stereotypical depictions of American Indians as their mascots, nicknames and logos.

Gov. Jim Doyle signed a bill into law on Wednesday that gives the state school superintendent the authority to ban offensive, race-based caricatures if a district's residents object to their use.

The Wisconsin Assembly passed the law in April. Not that everyone's happy about it.

Republican State Rep. Bill Kramer of Waukesha told reporters that it shouldn't be up to Indians as to what does or doesn't offend them.

Calling, for example, Mukwonago High School teams the Indians is "a tribute to the numerous Indian burial sites in the area," he said.

Did anyone ask the Indians what they thought about that? That's what one of the law's main backers, Democratic state Sen. Spencer Coggs, of Milwaukee, wanted to know.

"If it's offensive to the Native Americans, especially the Native Americans in that area, then they need to be heard," he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Read the bill here. See a map of Wisconsin's Indian mascot-named schools here.

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