Mascot bill headed toward governor’s desk

The methodical march toward schools in Colorado having to get rid of Native American mascots continues.
Yuma’s school teams have gone by the “Indians” since the mid-1930s, but likely will have to transition to a new mascot by June 2022.
Senate Bill 21-116 passed out of the Colorado Legislature last week, and now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature.

The bill bars Colorado public schools, colleges and universities from using Indian mascots unless there is a cooperative arrangement with Native tribes.
Yuma-1 Superintendent Dianna Chrisman told the Pioneer earlier this week that the district has not had any luck with reaching such an agreement.
The Roubideaux family in Yuma has been trying to spearhead a letter-writing campaign to the governor encouraging him not to sign the bill.
It is not known how much of an impact that will have, if any.
Yuma-1 Board of Education President Dan Ross said he had not had a chance yet to discuss what to do next with the other board members. The next scheduled board meeting is June 21.
The Native American Guardians Association reiterated on its Facebook page late last week that the law is unconstitutional and will challenge it in court. NAGA’s motto is “Educate, not eradicate.”
As it looks now, the 2021-22 school year will be the last for “Indians” in Yuma.
Schools will face a $25,000 per month fine if they don’t eliminate the mascots.
Yuma-1 leaders have stated they are figuring it will cost somewhere north of $200,000 to make the transition. The bill has been amended to allow for schools to apply for BEST funding to help pay for the costs.
About two dozen public schools in Colorado use some form of Indian mascots.