Colo. lawmaker proposes crack down on Native American mascots

September 11, 2014
Photo: American Indian mascot at Loveland High School (AP Photo)
A metro Denver lawmaker wants to bring back a bill next legislative session addressing schools that have American Indian-themed mascots.

Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton, met with members of the Native American community Wednesday.

He’s crafting legislation that would require schools with those mascots to get approval to use them from the American Indian community, or lose state funding.

Salazar says a similar effort failed in the Legislature a few years ago, but he says the debate isn’t over.

"You don’t have a right to be oppressive, you don’t have a right to be discriminatory," Salazar says. "We certainly, as the bill contemplates, the state of Colorado does not have to fund discriminatory behavior."

Salazar says there are about 40 public schools in Colorado that use some type of American Indian mascot. 

Since a similar effort failed in 2010, the issue has picked up momentum in other states. There's also greater public attention on the issue because of the movement to get the NFL's Washington Redskins to change their name.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.