California became the first state in the nation to pass a law prohibiting public schools from using the term “Redskins” as a team name or mascot.
Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday approved the measure barring the use of the term that many Native Americans find offensive but vetoed a separate measure that would have barred public properties from being named after individuals associated with the Confederacy.
As of Jan. 1, 2017, all public schools will be barred from using the term “Redskin,” which many Native Americans consider a racial slur. The measure by Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) will allow schools that use materials that contain the term, such as uniforms, to phase out their use to alleviate cost concerns. The new law will affect four California high schools in Merced, Calaveras, Tulare and Madera counties.
Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter and National Congress of American Indians Executive Director Jackie Pata, leaders of the advocacy group Change the Mascot, used the new California law to exert pressure on the Washington Redskins, the professional football team that has faced sharp criticism over its name.