A bill that would ban the use of Native American mascots in public schools in Massachusetts is heading to a hearing before the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education on Tuesday.
Activists say dozens of schools in the state have such mascots.
The bill, filed by Senator Barbara L’Italien, an Andover Democrat, provides that “the use of any Native American mascot by a public school in the Commonwealth is prohibited.”
The bill defines a Native American mascot as a ‘‘name, symbol, or image that depicts or refers to an American Indian tribe, individual, custom, or tradition that is used by a public school as a mascot, nickname, logo, letterhead, or team name.’’
The bill specifically mentions a list of banned team names, some of them currently in use by professional sports teams — “Redskins,” “Savages,” “Indians,” “Indianettes,’’ “Chiefs,” “Chieftains,’’ “Braves,’’ and “Redmen.”
According to the New England Anti-Mascot Coalition, Massachusetts currently has 40 high schools that use the word “Indian” or variations as logos or mascots, down from 43 a few years ago.
Recent changes include Brookline High School which changed their “Warrior” logo to an armored knight and Watertown High, which stopped using their “Raiders” logo, according to Pete Sanfacon of the coalition.
Earlier this year, the Gill-Montague Regional School Committee voted to drop Indians as the mascot for Turners Falls High School.
The coalition tallied some 90 schools around New England. Here’s the coalition’s list.
The bill will be heard at 10 a.m. at the State House.Emily Sweeney of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Material from The Associated Press and State House News Service was used in this report.