The following is the statement of Arvina Martin (Ho-Chunk, Stockbridge-Munsee), chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin American Indian Caucus:

“In a time where public opinion moves against the use of American Indian imagery as school mascots, I am saddened that Governor Walker decided to take Wisconsin backwards by signing AB 297, regarding race based mascots in our public schools into law.

Walker falsely claims that signing this legislation will protect the free speech rights of school districts while failing to realize that First Amendment does not allow government programs, in this case, schools, to offend, harm or otherwise discriminate against citizens.

With a stroke of his pen, Governor Walker ignored the statements of many, both American Indian and non-American Indian, in order to push through legislation that does nothing but further marginalize American Indians in our state.”