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"Moving Forward: Factors in the Retirement of Indigenous Mascots within Four Wisconsin K-12 School Districts"

Authors: Lauren Becker*, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire
Topics: Cultural Geography, Indigenous Peoples, Rural Geography
Keywords: K-12 School Districts, Mascots, American Indian Studies, Indigenous Theories & Methodologies, Wisconsin, Education
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The use of Indigenous Peoples as team names and mascots within K-12 school districts in the United States has been contested by both individuals and organizations for decades (Davis-Delano 2007). Recent studies have concluded that exposure to Indigenous caricatures in learning environments has adverse effects on the well-being of American Indian students and boosts the self-esteem of non-Indigenous students (Kim-Prieto et. al 2010; Fryberg et. al 2018). School districts that continue to use Indigenous team names and mascots often cite tradition as defense against change, but hundreds of school districts throughout the country have maintained community pride a transition to another team name and mascot. What are the best approaches for producing these transformative spaces while maintaining ties to community members’ place identity? This research focuses on the approaches and processes that the Osseo-Fairchild, Menomonie, Galesville-Ettrick-Trempealeau, and Tomah School Boards in Wisconsin undertook to retire their race-based nicknames in order to make their learning spaces less hostile to their Indigenous students, more inclusive to all students and visitors.

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