Colorado is the newest to weigh in on banning Native American mascots from Illinois information

Attempts to remove Native American images of mascots began during the civil rights movement in the 1960s, according to the National Congress of American Indians, a nonprofit founded in 1944 to protect Native American and Alaskan rights.

The movement received little attention until 2005 when the National Collegiate Athletic Association directed schools to end the use of “hostile or abusive” mascots and images in college sports. In later years, the conversation spread to the NFL’s multi-billion dollar industry.

After years of pressure and a federal decision, the Washington NFL team decided to drop the Redskins name last July and become the Washington Football Team.

According to a database from the National Congress of American Indians, more than 1,900 schools in the United States had Indian-themed mascots last week.

In 2020, there were 68 schools in Utah, Ohio, Michigan, Idaho, New York, Massachusetts, and California that were scrapping Native American-themed mascots, the database shows.

Proposed name changes often come with setbacks, as removing a mascot means new uniforms, signs on boxes, and images on goods.

Actions in Washington state and Illinois would allow its use if a nearby tribe agrees to a request from the school, which Oregon has already passed. In addition to written approval, the Illinois bill also provides exemptions for schools that run annual school-wide Native American culture programs and courses on “Native American Contribution to Society.”

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