Kiowa superintendent gives update on mascot change

New state law bars use of Native American team names in public schools

Chancy J. Gatlin-Anderson
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 7/31/21

On June 28, Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill into law banning Native American mascots in public schools throughout the state. The law prohibits any “name, symbol, or image that depicts or refers to …

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Kiowa superintendent gives update on mascot change

New state law bars use of Native American team names in public schools

Posted

On June 28, Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill into law banning Native American mascots in public schools throughout the state.

The law prohibits any “name, symbol, or image that depicts or refers to an American Indian tribe, individual, custom, or tradition that is used as a mascot, nickname, logo, letterhead, or team name for the school.”

On July 21, Kiowa Schools Superintendent Dr. Silvia McNeely released a statement as to the tentative plan to comply with the new law. The district’s teams are called the Indians.

“I am anticipating a great year this year; even though we may be facing unexpected challenges, I believe we can work through them collectively,” McNeely wrote in her statement to the Kiowa Schools community.

“It was brought to my attention that many of our patrons are not aware of an edict that was passed in our state’s legislation,” she wrote, noting the prohibitions of Senate Bill 21-116. She noted that “the school district will be fined TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($25,000) monthly if all our insignia is not removed by June 30, 2022.”

She continued: “The district is currently attempting to locate a letter that was provided by the Kiowa Nation giving this school district permission using the mascot we currently have. However, until this letter is successfully found, we will need to begin the process of developing a plan of possibly changing our Mascot and Motto. I do wish to mention that if this letter is retrieved, the Kiowa Nation has the power to terminate this agreement at their discretion.”

McNeely wrote that the district leadership “will be working with the Accountability Committee in developing a plan of action over the possible changes. We will be reaching out to ALL stakeholders (students, parents, community members, and staff) for possible ideas for a new Mascot and Motto. With that being said, we are asking everyone to participate and become a positive contributor to this new transition.”

Her statement concluded: “If you have any questions please feel free to email me at smcneely@kiowaschool.org or contact me at 580-559-1215 (please text me first or I will think it’s a solicitor’s call — also allow me 24 hours to respond).”

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