Maine has adopted a ban on Native American symbols as public school mascots, making it the first US state to do so, reports CNN and the Hill. "While Indian mascots were often originally chosen to recognize and honor a school's unique connection to Native American communities in Maine, we have heard clearly and unequivocally from Maine tribes that they are a source of pain and anguish," said Gov. Janet Mills at the signing. The law, which takes effect later this year, blocks public schools from having "a mascot, nickname, logo, letterhead or team name" that "depicts or refers to a Native American tribe, individual, custom or tradition."
Skowhegan Area High School was the last school in the state to use a Native American mascot before it was retired earlier this year, reports Fox News. While some opponents had argued mascots should be left up to school boards, Rena Newell of the Passamaquoddy Tribe said the law was the "start of a higher trust of promoting cultural diversity and awareness." Last month, Mills signed a law replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. (Read more Maine stories.)