California first state to ban ‘Redskins’ name for public school teams, mascots

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The United Church of Christ has voted to boycott the Washington NFL team until it drops its logo and mascot, which Native Americans say are offensive. Photo by  Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports, courtesy of Reuters

The United Church of Christ has voted to boycott the Washington NFL team until it drops its logo and mascot, which Native Americans say are offensive. Photo by Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports, courtesy of Reuters

The United Church of Christ has voted to boycott the Washington NFL team until it drops its logo and mascot, which Native Americans say are offensive. Photo by Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports, courtesy of Reuters

California became the first state to ban public schools from using the term “Redskins” as a team name or mascot under a law signed Sunday by Gov. Jerry Brown. Photo by Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports, courtesy of Reuters *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-REDSKINS-MASCOT, originally transmitted on Oct. 12, 2015.

California became the first state to ban public schools from using the term “Redskins” as a team name or mascot under a law signed Sunday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The measure, which goes into effect, Jan. 1, 2017, affects four schools that are still using the term: Gustine High School, Calaveras High School, Chowchilla Union High School, and Tulare High School. The schools will be allowed to phase out materials such as uniforms, because of concerns about costs.

The bill was defeated four times in the state dating back to 2002 before it passed the Assembly and eventually was signed into law Sunday.


READ: United Church of Christ to boycott Washington Redskins


Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter and National Congress of American Indians Executive Director Jackie Pata, leaders of the advocacy group Change the Mascot, issued a statement and used the California law as a means to put pressure on the Washington Redskins.


READ: Enough with the Redskins


The advocacy groups lauded California for “standing on the right side of history by bringing an end to the use of the demeaning and damaging R-word slur in the state’s schools. They have set a shining example for other states across the country, and for the next generation, by demonstrating a commitment to the American ideals of inclusion and mutual respect.”

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