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Colorado's ban on Native American school mascots faces questions of constitutionality in a new lawsuit

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Earlier this month, a North Dakota-based group sued Colorado for its new ban on Native American school mascots. The ban came about as part of Senate Bill 21-116, which Gov. Jared Polis signed back in June. The bill gave 25 Colorado schools that currently have Native American mascots 11 months to remove them or face a monthly fine of $25,000.

But the plaintiffs of the lawsuit, the Native American Guardians Association, argue that this ban is unconstitutional. They say that while some American Indian mascots are caricatures that mock their heritage, there are also culturally appropriate Native American names and logos that honor tribes and neutralize stereotypes.

To learn more about the mascot ban and the implications of the lawsuit, Colorado Edition spoke to staff attorney at the Native American Rights Fund, Matthew Campbell.

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As a radio producer, I help make the Colorado Edition program come to life. I help to schedule guests, produce interviews, edit audio, and write for our weekly newsletter.
I host and produce KUNC’s in-depth, regional newsmagazine Colorado Edition, which has me searching across our state for peculiar and impactful stories to bring to listeners, always with a focus on empowering the people who hear our show and speaking through them to our guests. I am also a big nerd about field recording and audio editing, my dedication to which I hope serves our listeners who care about audio as much as I do.