Menomonie schools considering mascot change

By: Aaron Dimick Email
By: Aaron Dimick Email

MENOMONIE, WI (WEAU) Controversy is beginning to brew over a proposal to change the Menomonie School District’s mascot.

The school board said it is taking action before someone files a complaint against the mascot, which some say is racist.

WEAU 13 News spoke to Menomonie School Board President Colleen Davis on Monday.

Davis said the school district is no stranger to the controversy that its “Indian” mascot draws.

Davis said in 1997 the mascot was repealed for a short time in favor of the “Mustangs”.

“It did get changed and then it went to referendum. And the community voted. There was a school board recall. Three members were recalled and it was changed back,” Davis said.

Now the district is facing a law that went into effect in May, 2010.

The law says if someone complains that a school’s mascot is racially insensitive, the district must determine if the mascot promotes discrimination, student harassment or stereotyping.

If the mascot is deemed racially insensitive, it must immediately be pulled from school activities.

“If the complaint comes we’ll have 45 days to choose to either try to fight the law or just move ahead. I don’t think there is one taxpayer in this town that is willing to spend $1,000 a day to fight it,” Davis said.

Although there haven’t been any formal complains reported, the school board said it’s acting on a recent University of Wisconsin-Stout forum which called for an end to Menomonie’s “Indian” mascot.

“I think we want to be able to do it on our own time. We want to be able to retire it. We want to be able to do it without the state saying you have to do it,” Davis said.

The school board president said the board will start talking about the matter Monday night, but won’t vote on the mascot change until sometime in June.

“It really is about the kids. We just don't just plan to do away with it. We do plan to put it in history. Our kids are important too. We want them to have something to be proud of,” Davis said.

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  • by We will always be the Indians on Jul 21, 2011 at 09:20 PM
    I dont care what the mascot will be, but we will truly know our school, that we went to, our children are going to as the Menomonie Indians. And if you think being called the Indians is being raciest... than why does everyone take so much pride in our name??? Is my question! We dont flaunt in silly costums like others schools.. we simply have a picture a Native American upon our walls! And if that is being raciest... then you are insane! If Menomonie has to change there mascot then the Red Skins should too! How come no one finds that raciest???
  • by Liz Location: Neillsville on Jul 19, 2011 at 04:31 PM
    Hi, I too have Native American blood in my heritage, and over the years I've watched & listened to how schools are changing their mascots. What I've found in a lot of the cases it's not the Native Americans complaining, it's the racists out there. Osseo for example is an older white couple complaining. So I understand where schools don't want to offend anyone because every school here in WI needs students, so I think the schools don't want to create problems. It's unforunate it has come to this but it has. I know the state has that law about changing the name, logo, & mascots if it's considered offensive, I'm not sure when it was put in the books but this controversy has been going on since the 90's. I'm also not sure if it was the tribes pushing the law or people of European heritage, either way I think it's dumb. A lot of my family went to or still goes to Auburndale they were the home of the Apaches, and I know every single one of them are proud of their school, mascot, logo & everything. So how it's offensive is beyond me, Native Americans are part of our American History.
  • by Norm Ellefson Location: Hastings on May 12, 2011 at 10:34 AM
    Bravo to some members of the Menomonie School Board for being proactive - again. The evidence regarding the negative impacts on both native and non native people are overwhelming. It's time to change.
  • by Ben Location: Eau Claire on May 11, 2011 at 02:16 PM
    To the city of Menomonie: I give you permission to use my likeness and my family name as a logo. I would be proud if a school would consider me a symbol of stength and honor.
  • by JASON Location: eau claire on May 11, 2011 at 08:01 AM
    proud gradutate of menomonie high school class of 1997!!!! go indians!!! dont care what they change the name to, ill always be an indian.....
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 11, 2011 at 01:36 PM in reply to JASON
      Ok so now I can see how this can be disrespectful. Provided that Jason here is not actually a native American his proclamation that he will always be an Indian is a little offensive to those that are.
      • reply
        by Mr. T on May 11, 2011 at 02:17 PM in reply to
        Really? Really? Is that what you think?
    • reply
      by Kathy on Jul 21, 2011 at 09:11 PM in reply to JASON
      I AGREE!
  • by Befair on May 11, 2011 at 06:49 AM
    Why would you want to have your team named after a group of people you don't care for. You are offened about the casinos and fishing? I guess I don't get it. You are not showing any pride or honor in your comments. Is it really that big of a deal to change? The kids don't care, they can't use their mascot anyway.
  • by Class of 76 Location: menomonie on May 10, 2011 at 09:16 PM
    What is the definition of MASCOT? Surely it is in a respectful context. I have never thought that naming a sports team, or a state, a county or whatever; a name taken in a respectful manner, would offend ANYONE. If they want us to eliminate the logo, I think they should also change the name of Menomonie while they are at it, and any other road/street/town/county/state that has an Indian name. Maybe after awhile we will all forget about Indian heritage and what it stands for. Somewhere I would believe this should be under the protection of the 1st AMENDMENT of the CONSTITUTION. BTW, how come I can't own a casino, or spear fish. Equality isn't by any means equal.
    • reply
      by We will always be the Indians on Jul 21, 2011 at 09:13 PM in reply to Class of 76
      I agree totally!
  • by Joe Location: EC on May 10, 2011 at 08:38 PM
    Does anyone know which bar in Hayward you can buy fresh walleye this time of year?
  • by Justin Location: Menomonie on May 10, 2011 at 03:15 PM
    Al, those dancers were members of my family who take pride in their heritage. They maintain our culture by learning the ways of our elders, and respect them by their choice to continue to hold our traditions in their lives. It is unfortunate that these values should offend you so much that you feel the need to look away.
  • by AL Location: Eau Claire on May 10, 2011 at 10:25 AM
    I used to love the Native American nationality and was proud of the Cree blood running through my veins. I enjoyed the music, the dance, the customs. Now that I know I should be uncomfortable with Native American ways (from Osseo and now this), I am. I can no longer enjoy what I once enjoyed. The Green Bay Packers had dancers on last year, and I had to change the channel because I couldn't stand it. It's sad.
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