NY Board of Regents bans all school nicknames referring to indigenous people

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ALBANY, N.Y. – It’s official. All school mascot names and images associated with indigenous people have just been banned by the New York Board of Regents.

Back in November the State Education Department urged school boards across the state to start the process of changing the names and images of their team mascots.

The State Board of Regents says many school districts around the state have already dropped the names, and images of indigenous people. Others were waiting until a final decision was handed down.

Tuesday morning the board voted unanimously for the ban, and did so without any further discussion.

Here in our area school districts, Avon and Canandaigua are known as the “Braves.” Letchworth and Red Jacket are the “Indians.”

In 2001 the State Education Commissioner at the time ordered all school districts to immediately drop these names and images, but as of 2021, there were still dozens of schools that kept their original indigenous names and mascots. Many of them argued that their use of these names and images were out of respect for indigenous people.

We’ve reached out to the other schools to see if they would talk to us about a possible name change, and we’re still waiting to hear back from them. The Canandaigua City School District has outlined steps they are in the process of taking here.