Native American Gaming Profits Help Lead The Name Change Charge

Through a slew of grants, four Michigan schools will shift to more culturally sensitive mascots

Four Michigan school districts will see their team names and mascots change, thanks in no small part to the wild success of sports betting and online casinos in the state.

The Native American Heritage Fund will be doling out almost $480,000 in grant money — most of which comes from gambling profits — to help these districts switch out their former nicknames and mascots for more culturally sensitive replacements.

“If we fund the decommissioning of racist mascot imagery now, we will have more money in the future for proactive program and curriculum programming,” NAHF Chairperson Jamie Stuck, who is also the tribal council chairperson for the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, said in a press release announcing the grants.

The 2022 NAHF grants include: 

  • Chippewa Hills School District, which is getting $52,371 to replace current Native American imagery centered around the “Warriors” team name with “Golden Knights” imagery.
  • Hartford Public Schools is getting $132,249 to rebrand the current mascot from “Indians” to “Huskies.”
  • Lansing School District will receive $87,500 to rebrand the current team name and mascot from the “Big Reds” to a new, as-yet-unnamed mascot and logo.  
  • Saranac Community Schools will be getting $139,318 to rebrand the current mascot from Redskins (referred to as the “R-word” in the press release) to “Red Hawks.”

Additionally, the Michigan College Access Network will receive $55,000 to continue funding the “College Completion Corps,” a program that places completion coaches at three Tribal colleges: Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College, Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College, and Bay Mills Community College for the upcoming academic year. 

The NAHF was established in 2016 as part of the Second Amendment to the Tribal-State Gaming Compact between the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi and the state of Michigan, and allows for a portion of NHBP’s annual revenue to be shared with the NAHF.

Photo: Shutterstock


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