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Nevada bans racially offensive mascots and ‘sundown sirens’


By SAM METZ AP / Report for America

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed a bill on Friday that directs local school boards to ban “racially discriminatory” mascots, logos and names amid a national movement to phase out the use of symbols that Native Americans have long considered offensive.

The bill, which passed through the Legislature last month, could affect up to 20 schools in Clark County including Western High School, where the mascot is a Native American wearing a headdress.

It will not apply to universities or schools that have agreements with local tribes like Elko High School, which got permission in 1994 from the Elko Band Council of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians to use “Indians” as its mascot.

It also requires the Nevada State Board of Geographic Names to recommend that the federal government rename any geographic features and places that have offensive names.

The measure also will mandate that towns no longer blare sirens before sundown. The practice is rooted in historic “sundown ordinances” aimed at Native Americans which required non-white people leave a half-hour after a siren blared in the evening. Northern Nevada towns like Minden in Douglas County continue to sound the sirens decades after the ordinances were repealed.

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