The Banks High School score board is shown on the wall of their gym, in Banks, Oregon.

Oregon Senate Loosens State Native American Mascot Policy


On May 17, 2012, the Oregon Board of Education voted to ban the use of Native American mascots in the state's schools. The institutions were required to remove Native logos from uniforms, sports fields and courts, and all other places they may have been appearing. Today, less than a year later, the Oregon State Senate passed a bill that relaxes that policy, a step back for critics of the mascots.

State Sen. Jeff Kruse, Republican, from Roseburg, and the chief sponsor of the bill, said it should be up to tribes to decide if a mascot is discriminatory. Schools can keep their Native mascots, under the bill, if local tribes approve them. Susan Hansen, a resident of Mollala and a critic of the bill, told the Associated Press that she thinks the mascots reduce Native American traditions to cartoon figures, and also give students the idea that stereotyping is acceptable.

"People dribble baskets balls and sweat on the face of the Indian they are supposedly honoring," Hansen said.

The Lebanon High School Warriors logo, at center court.

As ICTMN reported earlier, two Oregon tribal councils representing the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians protested the ban, saying they believed mascots can be positive representations of Native people and that the ban violated their sovereignty. A Siletz resolution also declared that while mascots should still be allowed, they should also be complemented by rigorous studies on Native culture.

Reyn Leno, tribal council chairman for the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, told the AP he is less concerned about Native American mascots in schools than he is about how his tribe's history is taught. "People need to learn our history," he said Wednesday, April 10. "Then maybe we wouldn't have to deal with ... disrespectful school mascots."

Leno said he doesn't find Native American school mascots offensive, but believes local tribes should be the decision makers on the matter.

Related Stories

Three New Bills in Oregon Legislature Seek to Undermine Native American Mascots Ban

Oregon Joins Wisconsin in Banning Native American Mascots


You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page



Donna L Boyle's picture
Donna L Boyle
Submitted by Donna L Boyle on
The problem is that they don't care to teach about real Native American ways they only say it;s to honor Natives so they can go on using the stereotypical racist mascots. Neshaminy school district in Langhorne Pa uses the "redskin " mascot and of course they say for honor so during Native American heritage month I suggested that would be a good time to have some special prgram if they really want to show honor but I was ignored . During black history month there are special lessons and in social studies they talk about civil rights for African Americans . They also spend quite a bit of time talking about the Jewish holocaust . Now don't get me wrong this is all very important for students to learn but the schools who say that they have a Native mascot to honor should then step up to the plate and incorporate some lesson to teach that Natives are more that a stereotypical mascot . Here in Neshaminy it's all just for fun , wearing fake headresses , paint and doing some fake mouth slapping woo woo woo !! That's some HONOR .