N.H. House rejects measure banning the use of Native American symbols as mascots

Published: 3/17/2022 5:27:10 PM
Modified: 3/17/2022 5:26:58 PM

The New Hampshire House voted 170-143 Tuesday to reject banning the use of Native American names or symbols as mascots.

“When Native American people find Native American mascots insulting, demeaning and racist, we should listen,” Rep. Linda Tanner, a Sunapee Democrat, told the House shortly before the largely party-line vote.

But lawmakers who favor allowing continued use of mascots and Native American names, insisted the matter is less clear cut.

“Most Native Americans appreciate the association, and are honored by these associations,” Rep. Michael Moffett, a Republican from Loudon claimed.

Local Native American leaders testified in support of the mascot ban during the bill’s public hearing. Moffett argued activists had “emotionalized” an issue that involves core speech rights and local control.

“It doesn’t need to be all or nothing. We don’t need to eschew or get rid of all Indian symbology, nicknames, mascots,” Moffett said.

New Hampshire’s Board of Education recommended getting rid of Native American mascots 20 years ago.

In 2019, Maine became the first state in the country to outlaw them.

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative as part of our race and equity project. For more information visit collaborativenh.org. 

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