New Legislation Could End Grand Junction’s Central High Warriors
The days of Native American high school mascots in Colorado may soon be coming to end. Could we see an end to Grand Junction's Central High School Warriors and the Montrose Indians?
Colorado to Introduce New School Mascot Legislation
Under a new bill introduced in the Colorado legislature, high schools with Native American mascots would be forced to change them or face huge fines.
Democrat Senator Jesse Danielson's bill would ban Native American mascots in the state and would give Colorado high schools until June of 2022 to make the change or face monthly fines of $25,000.
The bill reads in part:
The general assembly declares that passing legislation to retire all American Indian mascots in the state will provide another step toward justice and healing to the descendants of the 7 survivors of the Sand Creek Massacre, most notably the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, as well as other American Indians in Colorado who have been harmed or offended by these discriminatory mascots.
A Similar Bill Was Introduced in 2015
According to the Denver Post, Colorado Democrats tried to pass similar legislation in 2015, but with a split legislature, the measure failed. At the time, Governor John Hickenlooper formed a commission to study the issue in the state, which recommended all American Indian mascots be eliminated in the state. Since then, some Colorado schools have voluntarily changed their mascots.
Of course, Colorado isn't the only entity dealing with this issue. Oregon and Maine have state-wide bans on Indian mascots. Washington, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin are considering a ban, while Utah's attempt to ban Indian mascots in the state recently failed.
Everybody knows about the NFL's Washington Football Team which dropped its long-standing moniker "Redskins" after years of debate and controversy. The topic is a hot debate item across the country and is not going away anytime soon.
Does This Include Western Colorado Schools?
Currently, there are 25 Colorado high schools with Native American mascots including the Central High School Warriors and the Montrose Indians. Senate bill 21-116, which was introduced this week, would require these schools to change their mascots within the next year or face massive fines.
Obviously, there is a lot of history with these schools and their mascots, but, if this legislation passes they will have no choice but to make a change. There's not a school in the state that is going to pay a $25,000 monthly fine. With Democrats in control of both chambers in the Colorado legislature, it seems likely the mascot bill is going to pass -however - it's also possible that there will be changes in the final draft.
While we have become a politically correct society, there will still be huge debate over this issue. One side will say it's time to change with the times and do away with disrespectful and disparaging Indian mascots, while the other side will insist that what has been acceptable for decades is still perfectly fine and there's no need for change.
We will know sooner rather than later if the mascot legislation is going to pass, and it sure seems like Central High School and Montrose High School, if they haven't already, better start thinking about possible new mascots for the 2022 sports season. There's not a lot of time.
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