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Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper

Colorado Governor Forms Task Force to Review Native American Mascots

Simon Moya-Smith

Six months after a bill to regulate Indian sports mascots in Colorado was killed by Senate Republicans there, Colorado Governor John Hicklenooper on Tuesday signed an executive order creating a task force to review the use of such mascots by public schools in the state, The Denver Post reported.

“This is a pretty big deal,” House Representative Joe Salazar told ICTMN.

RELATED: Republican Senators in Colorado Kill More Native American Legislation

Salazar, a Democrat, introduced legislation last session that would have regulated the use of Native American sports mascots in Colorado. In May, the bill was killed by Senate Republicans. The state is home to a number of Indian mascots, including the La Veta Redskins, Eaton Reds, and Lamar Savages.

“My bill and this committee is just another part of the larger movement that so many activists have started long ago,” Salazar said.

At a memorial on the west steps of the state capitol last December, Hickenlooper apologized on behalf of Colorado for the Sand Creek Massacre 150 years after roughly 700 men of the Colorado Territorial militia murdered and mutilated an estimated 160 Cheyenne and Arapaho as they rested peacefully in the southeastern region of the state.

“We should not be afraid to criticize and condemn that which is inexcusable. ... On behalf of the state of Colorado, I want to apologize,” Hickenlooper said, reported Elizabeth Hernandez of The Denver Post.

Salazar said he believes Hickenlooper knows “in his heart” that assaults against Native Americans should at last be rectified.

“When you’re on the right side of history you know that you’re always going to be right,” Salazar said.

Meanwhile, a bill that would effectively ban the use of the R-word in public schools throughout California is awaiting the signature of Governor Jerry Brown. He has until October 11 to sign the landmark bill.

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