The Sleepy Eye school district is named after an actual historical figure, Chief Sleepy Eye (Ishtakhaba), whose village was on the shores of Sleepy Eye Lake. The Minnesota state legislature is forcing the district to stop using depictions of the man their district was named after.

Sen. Gary Dahms of Redwood Falls told KLGR that he believes that, if the State of Minnesota is going to force school districts to change their mascots, the state should bear the cost.

In the last session, legislators imposed many new mandates on school districts, with many of those mandates currently unfunded. One of mandates will require many schools to have to change any mascots based on Native American themes.
Dahms specifically mentioned the school district in Sleepy Eye, located about 30 miles south of Redwood Falls:


Complicating Sleepy Eye’s case is that the Sisseton Dakota Chief who gave the school and the town its name isn’t a generic design, but was named in honor of an actual person: Chief Sleepy Eye, whose Dakota name was Istakhaba. Chief Istakhaba is believed to have been born in the late 1700s and died in 1859. For years, his village was based by what is now called “Sleepy Eye Lake”.

The school district has explained many times to the state and to the state high school league that the district is named after an actual person, and that Chief Istakhaba’s descendants have given their permission for his likeness to be used in connection with the school. However, the state legislature doesn’t make any allowences for real life.

Dahms said: