Nevada bans ‘racially discriminatory’ school mascots, ‘sundown sirens’
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) on Friday signed a bill that directs local school boards to ban “racially discriminatory” mascots, logos and names and bans the use of so-called sundown sirens.
The Associated Press reports that the bill will not affect universities or schools that have agreements in place with local tribes who have given permission to the schools to use “Indians” as mascots such as Elko High School in Elko County.
This new bill could affect up to 20 different schools in one Nevada county alone, the AP notes. In the Clark County School District, Western High School has a mascot that is a Native American wearing a headdress.
Along with banning certain names, the legislation will ban the use of “sundown sirens” which were historically used to signal that it was time for non-white people to leave town. The AP notes that some towns in northern Nevada like Minden still continued to sound the sirens even after ordinances requiring non-white people to leave were repealed.
The bill will also require the Nevada State Board of Geographic Names to recommend that the federal government rename geographic features and places with offensive names.
This comes as national awareness rises around mascots that Native Americans have long considered to be offensive. The newly-named Washington Football Team announced last year that they would be changing their name following years of refusing to drop the racially insensitive term from their team name.
Owner of the Washington Football Team, Dan Snyder, had previously stated that they would “never the change the name.”
“It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps,” Snyder told USA Today in 2013.
A new mascot for the football team has yet to be decided on.