Story at a glance

  • Connecticut lawmakers passed a budget bill Tuesday, which included a provision that could cut certain funding to schools that use Native American nicknames without tribal consent.
  • Funding would be withheld from schools that, without permission, use “any name, symbol or image that depicts, refers to or is associated with a state or federally recognized Native American tribe or a Native American individual, custom or tradition, as a mascot, nickname, logo or team team.”
  • Nearly $103 million in grants from the fund were delivered during the state’s previous two-year budget, and most of the state’s 169 cities receive some level of funding.

Connecticut lawmakers passed a budget bill Tuesday, which included a provision that could cut certain funding to schools that use Native American nicknames and mascots without tribal consent. 

Schools that elect to carry on using names relating to tribes would lose financial assistance from the Mashantucket Pequot/Mohegan Fund — a fund that generates education revenue from Native American-operated casinos in the state. 

Funding, according to the provision, would be withheld from schools that, without permission, use “any name, symbol or image that depicts, refers to or is associated with a state or federally recognized Native American tribe or a Native American individual, custom or tradition, as a mascot, nickname, logo or team team.” Schools will have until June 30, 2023 to make necessary changes. 


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Nearly $103 million in grants from the fund were delivered during the state’s previous two-year budget, and most of the state’s 169 cities receive some level of funding, according to The Associated Press (AP)

“Towns around this state have been told year after year by Connecticut’s Native American tribes that their nicknames and mascots are horribly offensive,” bill sponsor Sen. Cathy Osten (D) said in a statement. “If certain cities and towns won’t listen to their fellow citizens, then they can certainly do without the tribal money that they are showing such disrespect toward.”

Republican lawmakers in the General Assembly said they did not receive the bill until Tuesday morning. Sen. Craig Miner (R), the ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, was surprised his colleagues across the aisle did not alert him to changes made in the 837-page budget bill, the AP reported. 

“Just because you’re in the majority doesn’t mean you should act this way,” Miner said.


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Roughly a dozen schools across the state use tribal names or imagery for their school’s mascots and logos. 

The Mashantucket Pequots and the state-recognized Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation said in a joint statement provided to the AP on Tuesday that not only does “wide-ranging appropriation of Native-American-related imagery, culture and names” promote stereotypes and misrepresent Native American culture, it also creates “lasting harm for tribal nations and their citizens.”


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Published on Jun 16, 2021