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Native American leader calls GOP bill changing moniker process "racist"

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - An Indian leader has strong criticism for a new Republican plan to make it harder to force Wisconsin schools to drop their Indian team names and logos. 

Barbara Munson of the Wisconsin Indian Education Association calls the new proposal racist and unconstitutional. 

Legislative leaders in both houses said Thursday they would move forward with a new bill from Assembly Republicans Steve Nass and Dave Craig, and GOP Senator Mary Lazich. 

Those who complain to the state about Indian monikers would have to prove that they discriminate -- and school boards would not have to prove that they don't.

One person would no longer have the authority to file a complaint. The bill requires petitions from the equivalent of 10 percent of a school's student population. 

Munson calls that unfair, saying other discrimination cases only require a single complaint.   

Also, the Administration Department would hear the cases instead of the Department of Public Instruction.

Wisconsin Democrats broke national ground in 2009 by pressuring schools to change their Indian names -- and punishing them if they don't.

Munson calls the modified plan a step backward. She said all 11 Wisconsin tribes will be united against it. 

Munson said it's a matter of civil rights and, "civil rights are not a popularity contest or a local control issue."