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Minnesota Districts Asked To Drop Indian Team Names

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Copyright 1988

An estimated 50 schools or districts in Minnesota that use American Indian names as mascots for sports teams are reevaluating their policies at the urging of the state board of education.

The board has approved a resolution calling on schools that use Indian mascots to take steps to replace them with other symbols. The use of Indian names, nicknames, or tribal names "perpetuates negative racial stereotypes of the American Indian,'' the board said.

The action came after a campaign for the change by an Indian group, Concerned American Indian Parents, and the Minnesota Civil Liberties Union.

Minnesota has about 40,000 American Indians, of which some 12,000 are public-school students, said David Beaulieu, director of Indian education for the state education department.

A survey by the Indian parents indicated that 23 schools or districts used the name "Indians'' for their teams' nicknames. Other schools used tribal names, such as Blackhawks or Mohawks, while some used such related names as chiefs, redmen, or warriors.

The resolution will be distributed to every school district, Mr. Beaulieu said. In addition, the eduction department will develop a plan to reinforce the message with local officials, teachers, and students.

The board will review the progress of the resolution at its December meeting, at which time it will also consider mandating the name changes.

Arkansas' director of vocational-technical education has resigned amid criticism of his handling of an internal audit.

J. Barry Ballard, 43, had held the state post for seven years. He said he made errors in judgment in his handling of an investigation of questionable financial activities at a regional vocational school.

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