Gov. Polis signs two bills into law to support Indigenous people

State

COLORADO — Governor Jared Polis signed two bills into law that aim to support Colorado’s American Indian population. The first would require certain colleges and universities to offer in-state tuition to American Indians, and the other would ban the use of discriminatory mascots in public schools. 

The first bill requires certain colleges and universities to provide in-state tuition to students from an American Indian tribe with historical ties to Colorado. Of which there are 48 recognized tribes.

The second bill ends the use of discriminatory mascots in public schools. This bill would prohibit K-12 schools in Colorado from using an American Indian mascot or nickname after June 1, 2022; failure to comply would result in a $25,000 monthly fine.

Monycka Snowbird with the Haseya Advocate Program has been rallying for this type of change for decades.

“It’s a relief. It’s almost 40 years of fighting for this. To finally have it over with, to have that unify our community the way that it did, I feel like that was a really positive thing,” she said. “This isn’t something that’s going to have to go on for even more generations.”

In Colorado Springs, back in March, the Cheyenne Mountain School District voted to retire the “Indians” as the school mascot. However, the school has not announced what its new mascot will be.

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