Native American group based in North Dakota sues Colorado over newly enacted law to eliminate all American Indian school mascots by 2022.

Proving there truly are two sides to every story.

As the Atlanta Braves emerge as 2021 World Series Champions, there is serious litigation taking place in Colorado to prevent that state from eliminating almost all Indian school mascots.

On Tuesday, the North Dakota-based Native American Guardian's Association filed a lawsuit in U.S. District.  The lawsuit is filed on behalf of a handful of Colorado residents citing "state-sanctioned race discrimination" based on Colorado's new law. AP News reports...

The Colorado measure, signed into law in June, fines public schools, colleges and universities $25,000 monthly for their use of American Indian-themed mascots after June 1, 2022. The law does not apply to schools on tribal lands and also allows exceptions for schools that had existing agreements with tribes.

If you think you're not reading this correctly, the NAGA, which lists a Devils Lake, ND PO Box on their website, is battling to keep Native American nicknames, mascots, and imagery in sports and other public applications.

Their statement seems to be "Educate Not Eradicate".

After a quick read here, please do return to NAGA's website to get a historical perspective of Native Americans in sports as both participants and symbolic representations.

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Here seems to be a position that suggests changing the names of teams like the Washington Redskins, Cleveland Indians, and of course, the UND Fighting Sioux is less a campaign to end Native American discrimination but instead is part of a greater campaign to lessen the Native America Nation's profile in the country.

The Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs has identified more than 20 schools across the state for violating the law by using terms such as Savages, Indians and Warriors in their mascot’s name.

NAGA maintains this isn't a conspiracy by non-native forces, it's an all-out assault.  To strengthen that position I'm going back to a controversy North Dakotan's are all too familiar with...the UND Fighting Sioux.  Back to the NAGA website.

University-sponsored "SOAR" is modified to "Building Roads into Diverse Groups Empowering Students" (BRIDGES) whose sole purpose is to rid the university of its “Fighting Sioux” name and logo. Through funds provided by the University and some fundraising events, BRIDGES begin to bring in Indian activists to lecture students; an activity that will be disbanded once the name and image were successfully removed in 2012. BRIDGES is guided and controlled by non-Indian educators whereby roughly 26 out of nearly 400 Indian students from around the nation are given a voice, leaving the vast majority of American Indians with none. It was later revealed by the NCAA in 2001, that MOIC stated they had been working to remove Indian names and images since 1996.

There's much to absorb in reading NAGA's positions on a number of issues regarding American Indians and their profile and imagery are represented in sports and public perception.

Will North Dakota ever pass a bill similar to Colorado's?

Will we shun the Braves, the Sioux, and the Warriors?  Perhaps maybe we should look into the concept of educate not eradicate.  I hope this lawsuit makes for a more robust conversation from both sides of the issue.

But to be honest, I think the Dickinson Midgets might be on their own out there.


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