Milton, Wisconsin : Indian mascot issue
Indian mascots and logos are not Y2K compliant!


On March 19, Ceremony to unveil replacement nickname, logo
• 01/05/2000 Board members survive recall election
• 12/02/99 Writer/Activist Writes The Milton Miracle
• 11/24/99 Recall election for members who voted to rename mascot
• 9/28/99 Update: WIEA & Youth "Indian" Mascot and Logo Taskforce
• 9/21/99 Students pick Red Hawks to replace Redmen
Board Decision To Drop `Redmen' Spurs Vote Effort
• Events in Mascot issue in Milton
A little background

NO stereotypes in our schools

----------  INDIANS ARE PEOPLE NOT MASCOTS ----------

From: "Robert Eurich"

Ceremony to unveil replacement nickname, logo Statewire

MILTON, Wis. (AP) -- A carving of an American Indian releasing a red hawk will be part of ceremonies marking a change in the nickname and logo for Milton High School' s sports teams.

The event March 19 is designed to commemorate the former Redmen nickname, considered offensive to Native Americans, and recognize the new nickname, the Red Hawks.

Administrators say an open house at the school will include a video presentation highlighting events that occurred at the school during the Redmen years, display of plaques and a new spirit flag and the debut of the Red Hawks logo.

Local artist Mike Jones created the large carving of a Native American, kneeling with his arms stretched, releasing a red hawk, for the ceremonies.

A vault in the base of the sculpture is intended to serve as a time capsule, and community members are being asked to contribute articles or written memories of the Redmen era for placement in the vault.

Principal Craig Duncan told school board members at this week' s meeting that the carving stands 6-foot-7.

A logo committee, comprised of community volunteers, has been working out details for the ceremonies for months, but Duncan said it hasn' t been an easy job, given the past tensions over the nickname issue.

In January, three school board members survived recall elections prompted by their votes last year for changing the nickname.

" The committee sees the ceremony as a symbolic passing of the torch, " Duncan said. " Some of the frustration is that others may not see it that way.

" Some of the frustration comes from a concern about the fragile feelings involved as well, " he said. " Finally, the committee wants to do as it was charged to do, but is finding the task more complicated and more difficult than imagined in August."

He asked the board for its help.

The board didn' t find any fault with the plans submitted by the committee. It approved the date and activities as scheduled.

----------  INDIANS ARE PEOPLE NOT MASCOTS ----------

Victory in Milton mascot recall election

The electorate of Milton, Wisconsin voted on January 4, 2000 to retain their incumbent school board members. The recall was initiated because the board decided to change the nickname of the high school from the Redmen to the Red Hawks. Congratulations to the people of Milton who saw this recall attempt as the anti-Indian measure that it was.

Robert Munson

Wisconsin Indian Education Association, Indian Mascot & Logo Taskforce,
MAP of Wisc. school districts' use of Native team names

Letters of congratulations and thanks can be directed to School Board members Dale Beaty, Mike Pierce and Wilson Leong at
    Milton School District Central Office
    430 East High Street, Milton, WI 53563
Letters of appreciation to the electorate can be directed to the editors at

Board members survive recall election

Janesville Gazette
January 5, 2000
By Carla McCann/Gazette Staff

MILTON--The three Milton School Board members who faced a recall election Tuesday will serve out their terms on the board. District voters re-elected Dale Beaty, Wilson Leong and Michael Pierce in an election that some believe drew one of the heaviest voter turnouts in the district's history. School officials this morning said they did not have a final tally of how many people cast ballots in the special recall election.

"Now, it's time to put this aside and move on," Pierce said. All of the incumbents expressed a feeling of relief and gratitude for the community that rallied around them.

"I'm very satisfied with the results," Leong said. "It reinforces the faith I have in the community. There was a tremendous voter turnout. I think that was indicative of the support the community felt toward this issue."

Beaty also hopes the district now can move on and put this behind it. "Milton is seen as a progressive and forward-looking community that is held in high esteem," Beaty said. "If this vote had gone the other way, people would have a different view of our community."

Recall petitions were filed against the three incumbents in October after they voted against allowing a referendum to decide the fate of the Redmen nickname and logo for the high school's sports teams. The three incumbents facing recall supported retiring the nickname because they believed it was offensive to American Indians.

Beaty was challenged in the recall by Patrice Gabower. After the votes were totaled, Gabower showed she was a gracious looser. "I think it was a good night," Gabower said. "The community had a chance to get out and have their say."

Although the polls closed at 8 p.m., Milton Township didn't report totals until 11:30 p.m. All of the candidates except Michael Laird, who challenged Pierce in the recall, waited for the final results. Laird left at 11 p.m., but not before congratulating the incumbents on what he perceived would be their victories. "We did it," Laird said. "We got them out to vote. Didn't we?"

Michael Martin, who ran against Leong, said he was pleased to see so many people vote in the election. "I really was impressed with the turnout," Martin said. "All of this could have been answered in August with a referendum."

School officials said this morning they did not have a final tally of how many people cast ballots in the special recall election. While waiting at the district's central office for the vote totals to be called or brought in from the city and township polls, the incumbents talked among themselves.

Martin sat with supporters in another room watching a football game on television. Gabower spent most of the night seated in a chair in the main office, waiting for the final votes.

Maggie Larsen, who has been an outspoken opponent of the board's decision to retire the Redmen nickname without a referendum, told Pierce that the purpose of the recall wasn't to divide the community. And it wasn't a personal affront against him or the other board members, she said.

Pierce and Larsen have known each other for years. They both grew up in Milton, and their children are friends. Pierce told Larsen he understood and that his vote on the Redmen issue and referendum request was what he thought was right. "The number of people who came out and voted showed how important this issue and the election were to the community," Larsen said. "We had the opportunity to voice our opinion and vote."

Larsen also offered a sincere congratulations to Pierce. Leong and Pierce are up for re-election in April. A third seat, held by Bob Cullen, also is open this spring. Gabower, Laird and Martin have filed papers to run for the three open seats on the board. "We'll be back," Gabower said.

----------  INDIANS ARE PEOPLE NOT MASCOTS ----------

Writer/Activist Writes The Milton Miracle

JANESVILLE, Wisconsin (December 2, 1999) � A local peace activist has written a short story concerning the Milton High School nickname controversy which consists of an imaginary series of conversations with Miracle, the famed white buffalo born five years ago in rural Janesville.

John Graf, a former local newspaper sports reporter and radio news announcer, is making available The Milton Miracle to those concerned about the conflict over a change of the school nickname from "Redmen" to "Red Hawks." The action has resulted in a recall campaign to oust three school board members who supported the name change.

Miracle's birth in August of 1994 was considered the fulfillment of prophecy by the Lakota Sioux, marking the beginning of an age of peace and harmony. Thousands of Native Americans and others have visited Miracle in Janesville at the Heider farm on South River Road.

"Ever since Miracle was born, I've wondered how such an occurrence has significance for our region," says Graf, who has long been involved in Southern Wisconsin peace activities and twice ran for the U.S. House of Representatives on peace platforms. "And one day, while contemplating how Miracle 'speaks to me,' the idea for this story came."

The fictional discussions between the author and the white buffalo, which in line with Lakota legend has changed color several times and now is a tannish brown, attempt to raise discussion of the Milton situation to what the author calls "higher ground."

"Miracle is a wise social/political analyst in the story," Graf says. "She discusses the need for community-building and utilizing the principles of conflict resolution to find common ground. Her advice concerns rising above the divisiveness of the controversy over the name change and the way it was made."

Graf describes the story as an effort to help focus the issues raised in the recall election of three Milton school board members.

"Both respect for Native Americans and respect for democratic processes are legitimate concerns. But they are separate issues. Miracle's suggestion, in the story, is that those issues need to be treated one at a time, and she points out there's a hazard in confusing the two concerns," Graf says.

Miracle doesn't take a stand on how people should vote in the recall election but does call upon all candidates in the recall to take a specific action.

"At the risk of spoiling the story's climax, Miracle's call is for all the candidates to pledge in writing�in advance, to the voters�how they'd deal with the name change issue if elected," Graf says.

Graf hopes the story will have value for other communities facing concerns about using Native American cultural symbols in the games of non-Indian cultures. The Milton scenario is playing out similarly to that of the Wisconsin community of Menomonie, which reversed a name change after a recall of school board members.

"I think that there are many Milton residents on all sides who would like to get this issue behind them," Graf says. "Milton has an opportunity to set an example of letting go of what divides the community and establish an exciting new tradition. There's a grieving process involved in that. Perhaps Milton can show the way for others to propose change in a dignified fashion, minimize the controversy, and energetically test new nickname ideas at pep rallies instead of in committees."

Graf is developing a plan for publication of the story, which he calls, "a modest literary effort, but one which I hope can uniquely help untangle the issues, thanks to Miracle's message of peace."

(Text of The Milton Miracle is available to reporters via e-mail for review or for news/feature articles. Contact John Graf, 608-758-9544 E-mail:

----------  INDIANS ARE PEOPLE NOT MASCOTS ----------

Recall election for members who voted to rename mascot Statewide

Published Wednesday, November 24, 1999

MILTON, Wis. (AP) -- School board members who favored changing a high school nickname because it might offend women and American Indians are named in recall petitions.

The petitions contained nearly 2, 150 signatures, about 250 more than required for an election, officials said.

A group called Citizens for Better Representation organized the petition drive after the school board retired the " Redmen" nickname and logogram for Milton High School sports teams in July.

The group wanted the board to submit the question to a referendum.

Some illegible spellings and questionable addresses found in the documents won' t hurt the recall election, said Al Roehl, a deputy clerk.

" Even if such signatures were removed from the petitions, those exclusions would not render the total number less than that required to proceed with a recall, " Roehl said.

Candidates must file nomination papers at the school district office by the end of the day Dec. 7 for a recall election scheduled Jan. 4.

The three board members, Mike Pierce, Wilson Leong and Dale Beaty, are automatically on the ballot.

When the l election was announced at Monday' s school board meeting, members rejected a challenge to the petitions by Pierce and Leong.

They challenged the petitions because they said a clear reason for the recall was not indicated.

----------  INDIANS ARE PEOPLE NOT MASCOTS ----------

A Combined Update of
WIEA "Indian" Mascot and Logo Taskforce
Youth "Indian" Mascot and Logo Taskforce

The Milton School board retired the "Redman"on July 19. Students decided to adopt "Red Hawks" on Tuesday, September 21. School board members are now facing threats of recall from a group called Citizens for Better Communication that is getting advice from pro-logo supporters in Menomonie, WI. The Milton School Board welcomes letters of support for their action of July 19, and encouragement to continue in the face of this challenge. Send letters to:

District Administrator Dr. Douglas Waitrovich
and School Board Members: Wilson Leong, Sue Johnson, Bob Cullen, Mike Pierce, Dale Beaty, Jim O�Leary, and Al Roehl.

    Milton School District Central Office
    430 East High Street
    Milton, WI 53563
and/or Letters to the Editors at:
    Milton Courier, PO Box 69, Milton, WI 53563
    The Janesville Gazette, PO Box 5001, Janesville, WI 53547-5001


SB217 has been referred to the Senate Education Committee where it will receive a hearing this fall. AB433 was referred to the Senate Education Reform Committee, Chaired by Steven Nass where it will most likely remain.

Check our website for "Synopsis of the Bill" and "Talking Points". If you want to circulate our Petition and present it at a hearing for the bill, contact: Chris or Alicia. 10 sheets of the petition were filled out at Indian Summer Festival.

---------- NO STEREOTYPES IN OUR SCHOOLS ----------

Students pick nickname Red Hawks to replace Redmen at Milton High
By Kathleen Ostrander
Special to the Journal Sentinel
Last Updated: Sept. 21, 1999

Milton - Students have chosen Red Hawks as the new nickname to replace the embattled Redmen nickname retired by the School Board after numerous votes and meetings earlier this year.

Opponents of the Redmen nickname had argued it was racist and sexist. Supporters argued it was steeped in tradition and never meant to be offensive, and they say they're organizing a recall for School Board members who voted in July to retire the Redmen name.

Last week, students in grades 7 through 12 first narrowed the choice of three nicknames - Red Hawks, Red Storm and Mavericks - to just Red Hawks and Mavericks after a vote last week.

On Tuesday the students voted again, and it was 597 for Red Hawks and 325 for Mavericks.

Because the School Board had already approved all three choices, said Milton School District Superintendent Douglas Waitrovich, the students will be rooting for the Red Hawks at their Friday homecoming and using that nickname in the traditional floats and decorated business windows.

"We are moving forward," Waitrovich said. "Each part of this is very emotional on the part of students and some parents, and we recognize that. The School Board will approve the new nickname on Monday and discussions will start on a new logo."

Waitrovich said it is likely the committee that worked on nickname change will come to the board with more than one choice of a Red Hawk logo and mascot, and then possibly the students will vote again. "We are working out details whether we will have some sort of contest or if we will solicit logo suggestions from the community and our graphics arts classes."

He said he is aware some students at some sporting events are using traditional Redmen cheers and are acting as if the board never voted to retire the nickname. "We are trying to remain neutral in this and let the students work this out themselves," Waitrovich said. He said it is possible some students are distressed over the loss of the nickname, but some of the cheers are also probably attributed to teens attempting to irritate the administration.

Votes for Redmen in balloting both Tuesday and last week were not tallied by those checking the ballots, he said. He declined to say how many ballots said Redmen and said that information would be given to the school board and if they wanted to release that later, they could.

Maggie Larsen, with Citizens for Better Representation, which opposes the change, said it was unfair of the district not to count and announce the Redmen totals along with the others.

"I don't like any of the choices," said Larsen, who has sent two sons to Milton High. "Red Hawks is the first name they latched onto when they were talking about a change." She said although some students may be using the Redmen cheer as an irritant, many of them are genuinely upset about the change and don't think their concerns have been addressed.

She said her group, which was originally planning on getting an injunction to block the change, has changed its tactics.

"We are going for a recall of School Board members now," she said. The group had gotten advice from the Menomonie group that recalled three School Board members there after they voted to retire that district's Indian logo.

"We will be filing intent to recall papers by the end of the week," she said. Larsen declined to say which School Board members the group would be recalling. The July 19 vote to retire the Redmen name was 5-2.

"The board certainly respects their rights to organize a recall," Waitrovich said. "This is a very emotional issue."

Appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Sept. 22, 1999. Reprinted under the Fair Use doctrine of international copyright law.

---------- NO STEREOTYPES IN OUR SCHOOLS ----------

From the 16 August 1999 Chicago Tribune,1575,SAV-9908160024,00.html


Associated Press
August 16, 1999

MILTON, Wis. Tradition motivates petitioners who want the school board to restore a nickname that critics called insensitive to American Indians.

"My sons are very proud to be `Redmen.' They are proud of the heritage," said Maggie Larsen, who has sent two sons to Milton High School. "It's a shame that we've become a land of the perpetually offended."

After years of discussion, the "Redmen" nickname and an accompanying logo were retired July 19 by the school board 5-2.

Larsen and a group called Citizens for Better Representation are circulating petitions that demand a referendum.

The group plans a rally Monday prior to a school board meeting.

School district lawyer Bob Krohn and Kevin Kennedy, executive director of the state Elections Board, said a school board cannot be forced to set a referendum on a policy question.

"There are statutes related to borrowing money and revenue limits but not on other kinds of issues," said Steve Hintzman of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, concurring with Kennedy.

The Milton School District is one of many in which Indian-derived names and symbols have been debated.

State Rep. Frank Boyle (D-Superior) is sponsoring legislation that would authorize the state Department of Public Instruction to force school boards to remove offensive labels.

Sentiments vary among the estimated 40 districts that Boyle has targeted after 18 districts changed their nicknames.

John T. Benson, state superintendent of the Department of Public Instruction, complimented the Milton board in a July 23 letter for its "courageous action."

In Menomonie, voters recalled three school board members who sided with students who tried unsuccessfully to switch the Menomonie "Indians" to the "Mustangs."

In Tomah, elders of the Ho-Chunk Nation have supported a local school's use of symbol depicting a Great Plains headdress and the name "Tomah Indians."

The Milton change was promoted since 1990 by Carol Hand, a Lac du Flambeau Chippewa, who says she had to leave town because of harassment.

Larsen and other petitioners complain that school officials made their decision without a referendum.

"They ignored the democratic process," Larsen said. "We don't feel they listened to their constituents."

"I strongly believe that `Redmen' is not a racist or sexist term," petitioner Arlen Bethay said. "I don't think it is offensive."

A referendum can resolve the community's division, said his wife, Glenna.

"With a referendum, either way it will be done," she said. "At least it will be more than seven people deciding the fate of their heritage."

Earlier this year, she said, a picture of an Indian in a Great Plains headdress was the sanctioned logo on shirts and banners. Now "it is considered racist," she said.

The Bethays and Larsen circulated a petition once before, unsuccessfully asking the school board for a referendum.

"I didn't think we'd have to go any further than that," Larsen said.

"I felt this was a policy issue that needed to be determined by the board," board member Bob Cullen said. "For every person who said, `Let's take the issue to a referendum,' we had an equal number of people telling us it is our decision to make."

American Indian Sports Team Mascots

July 19, 1999
Milton drops "Redmen" logo/mascot!

Map of Wisconsin schools with Indian team names
Wisconsin Indian Education Association "Indian" Mascot and Logo Taskforce:

    Sheku Friends

    On Monday evening, July 19 in a 5-2 decision, the Milton School Board courgageously retired the districts "Redman" logo and nickname. The board action was taken in spite of a petiton signed by 900+ citizens wishing to retain the same. Several faculty members, Milton community members and four spokespersons from the Wisconsin Indian Education Association "Indian" Mascot and Logo Taskforce spoke encouraging the change. It was breathtaking to observe this event. Milton has come a long way since 1991 when Dr. Carol Hand, a Lac du Flambeau Anishinabe woman, first challenged the district's logo. Though threats about pending lawsuits and recalls were made, the clarity, unity and strength of so many advocates was uplifting to observe. There is hope because there is so much good in so many human hearts.

          Sk^na, Barb


The Milton School Board, in courageous action, voted 5-2 to respectfully retire the school district's "redman" logo on Monday July 19. Many community members, including teachers, clergy and media worked long and hard to raise the level of understanding about this educational policy issue to the point where change could take place. The "Redman" logo was first challenged by Dr. Carol Hand, a Lac du Flambeau Ansishinabe woman in 1990. A long journey of public education deserves recognition. If you or your organization would like to write in appreciation of this positive action you can send letters to:

    Dr. Douglas Waitrovich, District Administrator
    Milton School District Central Office
    430 East High Street
    Milton, WI 53563
Copies can be sent to school board members at the same address:
    Wilson Leonge, Sue Johnson, Bob Cullen, Mike Pierce, Dale Beaty, Jim O'Leary, Al Roehl
    (the last two voted to retain the "Redman" logo)
If you want to send a copy of the letter to local media or send a different letter the local newspapers are:
    Milton Courier, PO Box 69, Milton, WI 53563
    The Janesville Gazette, POB5001, Janesville, WI 53547-5001


Mascot issue in Milton, WI
From: Robert Eurich
May 16 Star Tribune High school revises debate over nickname, logo

Administration Principal: Mr. Thomas W. Kemppainen
Milton High School, 114 W High St
Milton, Wisconsin 53563
Office: 608.868.9300 Fax: 608.868.9320

High school revises debate over nickname, logo

MILTON (AP) -- Teachers and school board members at a local high school are re-opening a debate about whether to change the school' s " Redmen" nickname and logo.

Jeff Churchwell, a Milton High School English teacher, circulated a petition last month asking the school' s teachers to support a change. Sixty-nine of the 76 teachers favored eliminating the nickname and logo.

He gathered support from 90 percent of the non-administrative professional staff, teachers and guidance counselors, Churchwell said.

" Not only is the nickname and logo a racial slur, it is sexist and very divisive in both the high school and the community, " Churchwell said.

Churchwell presented his petition to the school board' s policy committee Monday. The issue is on the agenda for the May 24 school board meeting.

The school' s nickname and logo have been the topic of debate for at least nine years. Many school districts nationally have dropped American Indian logos and nicknames.

Last year, a move to change Menomonie High School' s nickname from Indians to Mustangs was voted down in a referendum.

School board members had mixed opinions.

" When you get right down to it, Redmen is a racial slur, " said board member Dale Beaty. " Morally, I just can' t support it."

Board President Jim O' Leary said he has reservations about changing the logo and nickname after students voted only last year to retain them.

" There are a lot of people still saying, ' Keep the Redmen name and logo" ' O' Leary said. " But if the board votes to change it, I' ll not sit and stew about the decision."

American Indian Sports Team Mascots

"Little drops of rain wear away the greatest of stones."

----------  TEACH RESPECT - NOT RACISM ----------

A little background:
  • September 28, 1990: Carol Hand (Lac du flambeau Chippewa), a Milton resident, wrote a letter of concern to the Milton School District Administrator.

  • November 27, 1990: Milton School Board approved the use of its "Redman" logo.

  • January 25, 1991: Carol Hand filed a formal 118.13 (Pupil nondiscrimination of Wisconsin state statutes) complaint with the Milton School District.

  • February 27, 1991: Milton School Board claims that Carol Hands complaint had "No Standing, not attending school" and therefore cannot file a complaint.

  • March 13, 1991: Carol Hand files an appeal of negative determination with the Wisconsin State Department of Public Instruction.

  • December 11, 1991: Milton School District obtains a Court Order from the Rock county Cicuit court against the DPI ordering the DPI to "desist and refrain from taking any further action in the Carol Hand appeal. DPI upholds Carol Hand's standing to file the complaint.

  • In spring of 1992: Carol Hand's case was heard in Janesville Circuit Court. Carol moved out of the community due to threats/hostility.

  • May 13, 1992: DPI requests Attorney General's opinion.

  • September 17, 1992: Attorney General, James Doyle finds that Indian mascots and logos come under the purview of 118.13ss and DPI has statutory authority to administer pupil nondiscrimination cases under Wisconsin State Statutes.

  • May 24, 1999: Milton School Board discussed retiring the "Redman" logo and the process of choosing a new nickname/logo.

  • July 19, 1999: Milton School Board votes in a 5-2 decision to "respectfully retire the Redman logo."

    1. The DPI does not file complaints of pupil discrimination - the DPI decides such cases

    2. The Milton School Board filed an injunction against the DPI and lost its case.

    3. By the time the Attorney General rendered his opinion, Dr. Carol Hand had been forced out of the Milton Communtiy due to threats and hostilities of community members.

    4. In regard to pending legislation this legislation is designed to provide due process and protection to complainants. A fine would only be imposed if a school district was judged to be in violation of discrimination statutes due to its logo use, was ordered by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to remove its logo and failed to remove its logo a full year after the State Superintendent's decision was rendered. Please see the following synopsis of the bill:
State of Wisconsin
1999-2000 Legislature
1999 BILL

An Act to create 118.135 of the statutes; relating to: the use of ethnic names, nicknames, logos and mascots by school boards, granting rule-making authority and providing a penalty.

Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Current law prohibits discrimination against pupils on a number of grounds, including race and ancestry. This bill provides that a school district resident may object to a school board's use of an ethnic name, nickname, logo or mascot by filing a complaint with the state superintendent of pupil instruction (state superintendent). The state superintendent must schedule a hearing on the complaint, at which the school board has the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that the use of the ethnic name, nickname, logo or mascot does not promote discrimination, pupil harassment or stereotyping. If the state superintendent finds in favor of the complainant, the state superintendent must order the school board to terminate its use of the ethnic name, nickname, logo or mascot within twelve months after issuance of the order. A school board is subject to a forfeiture of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 for each day that it uses the ethnic name, nickname, logo or mascot in violation of the order. The decision of the state superintendent is subject to circuit court review.

No Indian Stereotypes in Wisconsin Public Schools

WI School Districts' use of Native American team names
Wi Legislation - S. Bill 217 - re Indian mascot use in schools
Map of Wisconsin schools with Indian team names
MTN Contents Page
Wisconsin Indian Education Association "Indian" Mascot and Logo Taskforce: