New York State Education Department orders schools to lose native mascots or funding | Education – Native News Online | Team Cansler

About 60 school districts in upstate New York risk losing state aid if they don’t remove images of Native Americans and namesakes from their mascots or logos by the end of the school year, according to a new memo from James Baldwin, the deputy assistant commissioner by James Baldwin the State Education Office.

The New York State Department of Education has opposed the use of mascots since 2001, when former Education Commissioner Richard Mills issued a memorandum: “Conclud[ing] “The use of Native American symbols or depictions as mascots can become a barrier to building a safe and nurturing school community and improving the academic achievement of all students.” memo from 17 Nov

However, some school districts have yet to comply. Among them, the Cambridge Central School District voted to retire its team name, logo and ‘Indians’ mascot in June 2021, but overturned the decision the following month with the election of a new board member. Community members challenged the reversal in an appeal to the Education Commissioner. The commissioner consistent the appeal, a decision upheld by the Albany County Superior Court after Cambridge appealed the commissioner’s decision.

Baldwin wrote that the court’s decision establishes that public school districts are prohibited from using Native American mascots.

“Those school districts that continue to use Native American team names, logos and/or imagery without current approval from a recognized tribe must comply immediately,” he said. “Should they need guidance, districts can contact the districts that have successfully retired their mascots or their local Cooperative Education Services Board of Directors.”

Never miss Indian Country’s biggest stories and breaking news. Sign up to get our reports straight to your inbox every weekday morning.

Failure to comply will be treated as a “willful violation of the Dignity Act” – which prohibits the creation of a hostile environment that causes emotional harm to a student – punishable by removal of school officials and withholding of state aid.

Nearly 2,000 school districts across the country still have a Native American mascot the National Congress of American Indians‘ last count on November 15, 2022. The state Department of Education estimated as of the summer of 2022 that about 60 of these are in New York. Since June, two New York schools have voted to remove “Native American” from their school mascot, according to the Live Database.

More stories like this

Lionel Bordeaux, longtime President of Sinte Gleska University, dies
American Indian College Fund & Pendleton’s Student Blanket Contest ongoing
VA Education Dept. Traces back from calling Native Americans “America’s First Immigrants”
Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills is speaking at two Michigan universities this week

You read the first draft of the story.

November is Native American Heritage Month in the United States. We feel that every month—and every day—is a reason to celebrate Native Americans and our heritage. That’s what we’re trying to do here Local news online, with stories every day that celebrate, inform, and uplift Native Americans and Alaska Natives. Over the past year or so we have been particularly busy with three major reporting projects impacting the entire Indian country:

  • Indian boarding schools. We’ve reported and published more than 150 stories and special live stream video events to shed light on the dark era of boarding schools – and help create momentum for change.

  • Native Health Desk. Launched in January, this reporting initiative was created to raise awareness of the health inequalities of Native Americans and to highlight progress in the Indian country. To date, we have reported and published nearly 120 stories and launched a monthly health newsletter that reaches more than 23,000 readers.

  • Native Bidaske. In March we launched this live stream interview program to highlight the work of Native Americans who are making news and driving change in Indian land. We have hosted guests from the federal government and advocates for indigenous peoples, as well as indigenous actors, comedians, journalists and models.

We hope that you will join us in celebrating Native American heritage and history this November, and invite you to consider the old adage, “Journalism is history’s first draft.” If you appreciate the voice Local news online to Native Americans, we hope you will support our work by making a donation so we can build our newsroom and continue to amplify Native voices and perspectives.

Every contribution – big or small – helps us to remain a force for change in the Indian country and to continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked. Most of our donors make a one-time donation of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10. Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Aboriginal-run newsroom and our ability to report on indigenous news.

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent indigenous journalism. Many Thanks.

About the author

Native News Online staff

Author: Native News Online staffE-mail: This email address is being protected from spam bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Native News Online is one of the most widely read publications about Indian Country and the news that matters to Native Americans, Alaska Natives and other Indigenous peoples. contact us under [email protected]


Leave a Comment