Bill to Ban the Use of Discriminatory Mascots Passes Senate


Senate approves Senator Danielson’s bill to end the use of American Indians as mascots in Colorado public schools.

DENVER, CO – Today, the Senate passed  SB21-116, a bill sponsored by Senator Jessie Danielson that will prohibit the use of American Indians as mascots in Colorado public schools.

“Not only have Indigenous Peoples had their homeland stolen but their culture has been continually trivialized and appropriated,” said Senator Danielson (D-Wheat Ridge). “For decades schools and sports teams have used degrading imagery as mascots – calling themselves the “Savages,” “Reds,” or “Indians”. Not only is this practice harmful and offensive, but it is in direct defiance of requests from Indigenous Coloradans, who have demanded for years that these derogatory mascots be discontinued. It’s time that we listen to Native leaders and end this practice.”

Specifically, the bill prohibits any K-12 school or institution of higher education in Colorado from using an American Indian mascot after June 1, 2022. A failure to comply would result in a one-time $25,000 fine for the school district or charter school institute and subsequent monthly fines for institutions of higher education. These fines would then be collected in the State Education Fund.

SB21-116 comes five years after former Governor Hickenlooper established the Governor’s Commission to Study American Indian Representations in Public Schools which found that the use of derogatory American Indian mascots across Colorado creates an unwelcome and hostile learning environment for American Indian students by having negative impacts on those students’ mental health and safety.

Additionally, American Indian mascots were found to impress upon non-American Indian children inaccurate information about American Indian culture and legitimize the participation of culturally abusive and prejudicial behaviors.

Following Cheyenne Mountain High School’s decision to change their mascot earlier this year, there are still 24 K-12 schools across the state that use American Indians as mascots.

The legislation now moves to the House for further consideration. Information and updates regarding the bill can be found at

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