There is new legislation that prohibits the use of American Indian images as a school mascot. School districts may apply for an exemption of this new law by September 1 2023 to the eleven Native American tribes or comply with a new mascot by 2025.
Representatives met with several Lower Sioux Indian Community Tribal Council members, a month ago, and requested to continue to use Chief Ish-Tak-Haba as our mascot. After both sides had the opportunity to express their position, the Lower Sioux Council informed us that they will not support our exemption to keep the “Indian” mascot. This information was brought back to our mascot committee . The committee, after careful consideration, made a recommendation to the School Board not to pursue the exemption.
The committee would like to focus on moving forward and start the search for a new image that Sleepy Eye Public School can be proud of in the future. Yesterday, this information was presented to the entire board at the annual board retreat. The consensus of the School Board was to start transitioning to a new image. The plan is to develop an “new mascot” application process that would be open to the community. A committee of stakeholders including: staff, community members, and students will review these mascot applications and will make a recommendation to the School Board. The School Board will then adopt the new mascot. The district has two years to complete this transition. The district and administration are looking forward to working with the community and students on this project.