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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: October 14, 2021 11:27 AM
From: Representative Christopher M. Rabb
To: All House members
Subject: Banning Native American Mascots in Schools
As a commonwealth borne of a colony that would not have existed without the Penn’s Treaty at Shackamaxon in 1683 between British immigrants and the Lenape Turtle Clan, Pennsylvania must commit itself to ending the extended era of collective disregard for indigenous heritage and egregious cultural appropriation.
Many public schools and sports teams across Pennsylvania use or refer to indigenous culture in their mascots and logos. Decades of social science research have shown how derogatory mascots have a serious negative psychological and social impact on those with an indigenous heritage. 
Further, data from the Department of Justice has shown that “American Indians are more likely than people of other races to experience violence at the hands of someone of a difference race.” In fact, it is well established that mascots, logos and the like that stereotype or fetishize indigenous peoples highly correlate to the alarmingly high suicide rate among Native youth.
At its core, the use of “Indian” mascots is a denial of the personhood of Native peoples, which has real consequences. For this reason, in 2005, the NCAA prohibited 18 institutions from using derogatory mascots. Additionally, several states have banned or limited their use for public school mascots, including Maine, Washington, Colorado, and Nevada.
With this in mind, I am introducing legislation to ban the use of Native American/American Indian mascots or logos in public schools.
For far too long, indigenous peoples have faced discrimination, disrespect, and violence. Our commonwealth must not remain complicit in the perpetuation of derogatory, bigoted, and harmful practices which encourage bullying and other forms of abuse. Therefore, eliminating the use of offensive stereotypes for school mascots is the least we can do to begin mending the damage done by the appalling historical oppression of these groups.
Please join us in co-sponsoring this effort to recognize the personhood and dignity of indigenous peoples.

Introduced as HB2876