For the last couple of years, there has been pressure put on professional sport teams to change their mascot names away from any Native American name. For example: Washington Redskins to Washington Commandos and Cleveland Indians to Cleveland Guardians.

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Many Universities and High Schools have followed suit and also changing their name/logo/mascot name. In our area, Odessa-Montour Central School District (O-M) has just recently switched from their Indians nickname and will go by the Grizzlies going forward.

The students voted overwhelmingly for the Grizzlies with Wolfpack as its second choice. O-M has combined teams with Watkins Glen (baseball, football, swimming and wrestling) and they will be known as the Schulyer Storm.

Now more schools in New York including a few others in the Southern Tier may have to change their nicknames whether they like it or not if a piece of legislation passes in New York. The New York Senate has introduced a bill that would prohibit the use of any native name for a public school

New York State Bill To Prohibit Schools From Using A Native Name, Logo Or Mascot

New York State Senate Senator Alessandra Biaggi (D) introduced Senate Bill S1549E in early 2021. This would stop any public school from using a native name, logo or mascot. If it becomes law, districts would have to discontinue the name/uniforms/material by September 1, 2024.

An exemption would be made for Native American tribes or if a tribal nation blessed the use of a specific native name, logo, or mascot but the school would have to submit it in writing.

The bill is currently in committee but if it were to pass then several schools from our area would be affected including Candor, Groton, Owego and Richfield Springs. Go here to find your senator and to share your views.

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