'Unconstitutional': Lawsuit fights ban on Native American names for mascots

The Washington Redskins of the National Football League are no longer.

The team now is known by the ad-friendly and tip-of-the-tongue name Washington Football Team.

It’s part of a movement that has developed across America in recent years to no longer allow nicknames that are associated with Native American interests.

At all.

Colorado, one of the more leftist states where officials enthusiastically join such bandwagons, right away have made it illegal under state law for schools to use such names as the Indians, Braves, Chiefs and more.

Lawmakers decided to impose a $25,000 fine – per month – on offending schools.

But now a lawsuit accuses the state of discriminating against Native American interests.

The case was brought against the state’s governor, Jared Polis, and others by the Native American Guardians Association and the Mountain States Legal Foundation, which wrote about the fight on its website, “This is a civil-rights action, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, challenging the constitutionality of SB 21-116. SB 21-116 is a bill passed by the Colorado State legislature in 2021 which purports to prohibit the use of American Indian ‘mascots’ by public schools and public institutions of higher education, as of June 1, 2022. Schools that don’t comply with the law face a $25,000 per month fine, for each month that the school continues to use a prohibited image or name after that date. The Native American Guardians Association and its members believe the law violates their First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights, as well as Colorado Constitution’s Free Exercise Clause and Colorado Constitution’s Free Speech Clause, the Civil Rights Act, Title VI and Title IV.”

An analysis at Legal Insurrection explained the immediate dispute is over which is the more significant deadline – a since-expired deadline for schools to notify authorities they’ll need help financially in making the expensive branding changes – or the effective date of the law, next June.

The plaintiffs are requesting an injunction to bar the state from making any attempt to enforce the requirement.

Counsel for the plaintiffs Scott Cousins explained the need for that injunction, which initially was denied by the district court: “The district court’s order would lead to absurd results. Schools might find out at the end of our case that Colorado’s law forcing them to change their name was unconstitutional all along. But by that point it will be far too late.”

The analysis explained the focus of the fight: It “is argued .. that when the government is involved in such name bans, it is discrimination against American Indians because it deprives them of the ability to have things named after them. It is, according to the argument, the worst form of cultural appropriate, more like cultural deprivation.”

Content created by the WND News Center is available for re-publication without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].


This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

Related Posts