Sonia Katyal on the Redskins Case

From Findlaw:

Sonia K. Katyal

The Fight Over the Redskins Trademark and Other Racialized Symbols

Monday, December 7, 2009

A few weeks ago, the Supreme Court declined to hear a case involving the trademark for the Washington Redskins. That decision left in place a lower court ruling stating that the plaintiffs had waited too long to bring a case for trademark cancellation – thus triggering the doctrine of laches, under which suits brought too late are barred. Around the same time, a federal judge in North Dakota prohibited the State Board of Education from immediately retiring the Fighting Sioux moniker of the University of North Dakota.

But neither controversy is truly over, and the underlying issue of racialized representations is likely to be discussed and litigated for years to come. With respect to the Washington Redskins, a different set of plaintiffs – and an entirely new case, filed in August 2006 – is waiting in the wings to challenge the trademark on the grounds of its disparaging content. In the UND case, the judge imposed a temporary restraining order on the ground that the state board could not unilaterally alter the deadline without ensuring the tribes’ participation. A new hearing has been set.

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Ypsi High to Retire American Indian Name & Mascot “Braves”

From the Ann Arbor News:

Board expected to choose Ypsilanti mascot name

The school board is expected to choose a mascot name and logo for Ypsilanti High School at Monday’s meeting.

A committee charged with considering mascot name and logo recommendations will first make its recommendation to school board members. The four suggested names are Generals, Olympians, Phoenix and Titans. The board will then vote on the selected name to replace Braves as the school’s mascot.

The board retired the longtime Ypsilanti Braves name and the logo of a Native American male with a Mohawk haircut and feathers in his hair after some people complained that the use of Braves demeaned Native American culture.