Scott Sonner / AP
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak met with members of the Nevada Indian Commission in Carson City on Friday as he signed a law to remove racially discriminatory identifiers or language from schools. In addition, counties can no longer sound the “sunset sirens” which once meant that it was time for some people to leave town.
The law will require schools to change any name, logo, mascot, song or identifier that is “racially discriminatory” or “associated with the Confederate States of America or a federally recognized Indian tribe.”
Under Assembly Bill 88, exceptions can only be made with the approval of the tribe. The legislation applies to public and charter schools, universities and community colleges.
Friday’s signing took place at the Stewart Indian School, which served as a federally-run Native American educational institute for 90 years. Children were forced to attend, torn from their families and homes to assimilate them into American culture, the National Park Service said.
The American West was not kind to its native people. But another part of AB 88 aims to change some of Nevada’s troublesome past. Not so long ago, some Western communities had policies in place requiring people of color to leave the city after dark, member station KUNR previously reported. They became known as “Sunset Towns”.
An evening siren was once considered a signal for Native Americans to leave town
Just south of Carson City is the town of Minden, which has a population of 3,000. Every evening at 6 p.m. sharp, a siren sounds through the valley. And while city officials say sirens are sounding for maintenance, some residents say the siren can be traced to a racially charged past.
In the early 1900s, Minden – and the rest of Douglas County – required Native Americans to leave town by 6:30 p.m. Some locals say the siren sounded at 6 p.m., as it does today, to warn not-so-welcome visitors. , warning them to leave in the next 30 minutes.
However, as of Friday, Nevada now prohibits counties, towns and unincorporated towns from sounding a siren, bell or alarm “when the siren, bell or alarm has already been triggered. on specific days or times in association with an ordinance passed the city that required people of a particular race, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin or color to leave the city at a specific time, ”says the law.
The new law goes even further, which could lead to the renaming of all racially discriminatory destinations in Nevada. The State will receive and evaluate “all proposals to modify or add the names of geographic features and places in the State”. A roster of advisers with Nevada knowledge and expertise would help make formal recommendations on each proposal.
The renaming of mascots and locations, as well as the ban on certain sirens, is a point of contention in Nevada. AB 88 passed the State Assembly 36-6. But he barely cleared the Senate, with 12 members for, eight against and one excused.