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Monday, March 2, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 23.0° F  Partly Cloudy
The Daily
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Citizen Dave: How about the Mukwonago Bears?

In the ongoing, and in my view needless, controversy surrounding Native American mascot names, one solution has been inadvertently suggested.

To clarify, I think the controversy is needless not because Native Americans are overreacting, but because school districts and teams are. I don't understand why the names can't simply be changed. Mascot names are changed all the time for all kinds of reasons. It just should not be a big deal.

But it is controversial in places like Mukwonago where the controversy is even worse because a public school system that should be educating its students to be citizens of the world is instead using this "teachable moment" to impart exactly the wrong lesson: to be stubborn, close-minded and intolerant.

In any event, the district administrator, in fumbling around for an explanation for why the offending team names should be kept, has stumbled on a solution. Shawn McNulty, the Mukwonago district superintendent, claims that the name of the community means "home of the bear in Potawatomi."

Well, okay then. If it's true that the district wants to honor Native Americans, then why not name the team after the original name of the place? The Mukwonago Bears.

Yeah, I know, Mukwonago may be little too close for comfort to those other Bears south of the border, but we can get over that. And, in fact, why not turn lemons into lemonade here by working with what we'll generously take to be a real interest in honoring and not mocking Native Americans?

To give another example, if the Washington Redskins really want to honor original Americans, than why not work with them on a team name that really might do that, one that they don't find offensive? This just doesn't need to be this hard.

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