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.

Republicans tried unsuccessfully in the Minnesota Senate Tuesday to give school districts an additional three years to comply with a number of new state mandates — including those with Native American mascots that must convert to a different name.
Senator Gary Dahms of Redwood Falls pointed out the school district in the town of Sleepy Eye, about 30 miles south of Redwood Falls, will be required to pay approximately $510,000 to change the imagery on its uniforms, stationary, publicity materials, and other items.
This is even though the Chief Sleepy Eye portrait is based on an actual Sisseton Dakota Chief whose village was based near what is now called Sleepy Eye Lake. In addition, Chief Sleepy Eye’s descendants have given their permission for the town and school to honor their ancestor by using his image to represent them. Nevertheless, the current Minnesota State Legislature is requiring the change.
Dahms has created a bill that would require the cost of the changes to be paid for by the state instead of by the town of Sleepy Eye’s taxpayers since it’s the state legislature that is requiring it.
Pine City Republican Jason Rarick says for one school district he represents, “they estimate their costs alone for changing their mascot to be at approximately 950 thousand dollars.”
But New Brighton Democrat Mary Kunesh was willing to push the mascot-change deadline back one year, to September 2026. But it appears current deadlines for school districts to implement other mandates would not change.