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Washington state proposal to ban Native American school mascots heads to House vote

The proposal would remove Native American mascots from most public schools in Washington by Jan. 1.

SPOKANE, Wash. — A bill that would ban the use of Native American mascots from most public schools in Washington has been passed out of committee and sent to the full Washington state House of Representatives.

The House Education Committee on Friday voted 11-2 in favor of the bill, which supporters say seeks to end the use of Native American mascots by next Jan. 1. Two Republicans voted against it.

Supporters of the bill contend such mascots do not actually honor individual tribes. Rather, they dehumanize Native Americans, erase the history of genocide and parody what indigenous people look like.

The bill was introduced by Democratic state Rep. Debra Lekanoff, an Alaska Native who is Tlingit and Aleut and the only Native American member of the Washington Legislature.