Cheboygan High School is tangled up in a statewide civil rights dispute.The Michigan Department of Civil Rights has filed a complaint with the United States Department of Education. They are asking the federal agency to prohibit the use of American Indian mascots within public schools.CHS is one of 35 schools listed in the complaint. Cheboygan High School's mascot is the Chief. They have held that title since the 1940s. Their athletic teams originally were called the Avalanche.The region is deeply rooted with Native American history. The towns name like many around Northern Michigan are derived from names established by local tribes.Cheboygan's Superintendent tells 7&4 News that right now it is still very early in the legal process to determine what will happen - beyond that he cannot comment on the matter for legal reasons.
There are other local schools who have Native American and are not listed on the complaint. The Petoskey Northmen, Escanaba Eskimos, and Rogers City Hurons all have have logos that are similar in nature to Cheboygan's.
Michigan's House Education committee chairperson called on the Michigan Department of Civil Rights to rescind it's complaint.
The department filed the complaint last week with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights asking to ban the use of American Indian mascots and imagery in K-12 schools. The complaint also asked the department to deny funding to schools that continue to use them.
The complaint said the use of mascots denies equal rights to American Indian Students.
7&4's Nathan Edwards is speaking with tribal members and historians and will have more details today.