Media Contact

Veronica Lorson Fowler, ACLU of Iowa Communications Director

October 29, 2021

The following statement from ACLU of Iowa Executive Director Mark Stringer is being issued in light of many communities considering retiring their indigenous peoples mascots.

"Using such mascots for sports teams is damaging and disrespectful. They perpetuate negative and cartoonish stereotypes, inappropriately represent sacred and religious traditions, and are especially offensive given the long history of oppression against indigenous peoples. Some Iowa schools, like Marion, have already retired their mascot and we encourage all other Iowa schools to do the same. Retiring these mascots is the right and respectful thing to do. Retiring these mascots also ensures compliance with the purpose of anti-discrimination laws."

We also want to draw your attention to the recent letter from the Meskwaki Nation, which calls upon Iowa schools to retire their indigenous peoples mascots, and it counts 66 schools with such mascots.

In 2014, Iowa had one of the highest percentages of indigenous peoples mascots in the country.

This follows a public call from the Iowa Commission on Native Affairs a year ago to retire such mascots.

Please contact us and we will be happy to connect you to the Mason City pastor and mom of four indigenous children who is leading the effort in Mason City.

For more information, or to localize this story to your area, a listing of school mascots in Iowa is available here.