The Sports Reports
ALBANY— The New York State Department of Education has issued an edict to all schools to stop using Native American mascots, nicknames, and logos by the end of the 2022-23 school year, or risk losing state aid.
As many as 60 school districts statewide, including Owego and Groton in Section IV, still use nicknames or mascots that reference indigenous people.
There are also many schools across the state, including Chenango Valley in Section IV, that use “Warriors,” which is also commonly associated with a negative stereotype of Native Americans.
Odessa-Montour was out in front of the issue, changing its nickname and mascot from Indians to Grizzlies prior to the current school year.
The State Education Department issued the directive Thursday in honor of Native American Heritage month, which is November.
The order was e-mailed to all districts and signed by senior Deputy Education Commissioner James Baldwin.
“Those school districts that continue to utilize Native American team names, logos, and/or imagery without current approval from a recognized tribe must immediately come into compliance,” Baldwin wrote.
“Should a district fail to affirmatively commit to replacing its Native American team name, logo, and/or imagery by the end of the 2022-23 school year, it may be in willful violation of the Dignity Act. The penalties for such a violation include the removal of school officers and the withholding of State Aid.”