Proposal: Let schools, tribes agree on name

Lawmaker suggests local decisions on acceptable mascots
2012-04-30T06:49:00Z 2012-04-30T09:50:16Z Proposal: Let schools, tribes agree on nameBy Jennifer Moody, Albany Democrat-Herald Coos Bay World

SALEM — Opponents of a proposal to ban all American Indian names and images from use as high school mascots strongly supported a suggestion from Rep. Sherrie Sprenger to allow waivers for districts that work out a mutually acceptable mascot use with local tribes.

The Oregon Board of Education is considering a rule that would strip state funding from any school or district that continues to use a Native American mascot after July 1, 2017. The rule defines “mascot” as any name, symbol or image that depicts or refers to an American Indian tribe, individual, custom or tradition.

In Reedsport’s case, the team “Braves” would not be allowed.

State Superintendent Susan Castillo, hearings officer Cindy Hunt and three members of the state board — Chairwoman Brenda Frank, Samuel Henry and Duncan Wyse — heard testimony for close to five hours Friday on the proposed rule.

A vote is expected at the board’s meeting May 17. Public comment will be taken until noon that day.

Of the nearly two dozen people who spoke Friday morning, most said they oppose a ban. Seven spoke in favor. The afternoon’s testimony was more evenly split. Many of the speakers on both sides of the issue noted personal tribal backgrounds.

Rep. Sprenger, R-Scio, gave board members copies of their rule with her suggested waiver amendment. Under her proposal, “if there’s an agreed-upon resolution and acceptance, it (names and logos) can be allowed,” she said. “I think this would bring us closer to the goal I have, which is communication, understanding and respectful dialogue within a community.”

Sprenger said she would leave the definition of “local Indian tribe” up to the tribal nations themselves. She said she wasn’t sure, for the mid-valley, whom to include in the conversation. “Teach me who to call.”

Speaker after speaker cited Sprenger’s comments as examples of the need to delve into the history and culture of Oregon’s native peoples as part of standard curriculum. Several pointed out that images most used by Oregon high schools, of feathered war bonnets and warriors on horseback, are linked to Plains Indians and not coastal tribes.

Susan Hansen, a Molalla resident who objects to the Molalla Indian name and logo, said, however, that the actual depiction makes little difference. “However realistic they are, races of people should not be made lucky-charm mascots,” she said.

Robert Kentta, cultural resources director for the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, supports a waiver clause. He said Siletz Valley Charter School enrolls a large percentage of native children, all of whom have “a rightful claim to their ethnic identification” as members of a school also known as the Warriors, he said.

Ralph Gierke, a member of the Molalla School Board, objected to the state board’s attempt to make a decision he said rightfully belongs to Oregon’s nine federally recognized tribes. He said the Indian mascot was created with approval from the area’s last Molalla chief and that his district has worked with the Warm Springs tribe and was initiating contacts with Grand Ronde.

Leslie Shepherd, a Central Linn High School graduate and currently second vice chair on the state board of education, said by telephone at the meeting that she also thinks the board is outside its jurisdiction.

“This is a topic I consider to be beyond the scope of the board of education,” she said. “I’m sure that each mascot is offensive to someone.”

Copyright 2015 Coos Bay World. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(31) Comments

  1. scott333
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    scott333 - May 05, 2012 10:31 am
    And why shouldn't I complian about the amount it's going to cost to have the mascots,names and everything else the tribes don't like removed from the public scools?.Should teachers lose their jobs because the money is being used to buy new uniforms,take names off the schools,buy new signs,chnage the gym floors the list goes on and on.And is there not a limit on how far back someone should look on something that we had nothing to do with.
  2. scott333
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    scott333 - May 05, 2012 10:24 am
    And how did we take their culture?.Why shouldn't we demand they take the words "MILL CASINO" off the Mill CasinO?.That name has nothing at all to do with their culture.If they want their culture back then they should use only their language and what they had to use when the treaties were signed.No electricity,houses,cars,power boats,machinery the list goes on and on.If we can't use a name they say is sacred to them then they should not be allowed to use what we have in our culture.
  3. scott333
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    scott333 - May 05, 2012 10:18 am
    If you did read them do you remember what else was said.The tribes who wanted all the names removed because it hurt the tribes so much had schools on the reservation with the same names they kept those names on the schools.If it hurts the tribes so much and the kids can't learn because of what the schools were called when they were public schools why does it not hurt anything when they are on tribal land?.I'll tell you why.Because the tribes want to cause as much trouble as they can.
  4. scott333
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    scott333 - May 05, 2012 10:14 am
    And zjones10.Did you read the comment last month when this all started.The comment was from someone who had lived in another state and the tribe there started the same trouble.The names of a couple schools had to be changed because the names hurt the religious beliefs and culture of the tribes.It made it hard for tribal kids to learn and go to school because of the names being so hurtful to the tribe.From what I remember the local and state government stepped in and made them change the names.
  5. scott333
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    scott333 - May 05, 2012 10:10 am
    Here in Oregon the general public can not open a Casino.Why do the tribes get away with this?,we the general public pay property and income taxes but the tribal members dont,the state and local police have no authority on tribal lands but the tribal police can police anywhere in our state,the tribes don't have to go by the labor laws we do,if the tribes want a name or language removed from something it gets done by them just asking.
  6. scott333
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    scott333 - May 05, 2012 10:01 am
    And I really don't care about what the treaties that were made years ago said.If it was such a big deal and nothing that was promissed was ever done why did it take so many years before the tribes decided they wanted to start trouble over the treaties or what they think we owe them or what we shouldn't be allowed to use or do?.I have a bunch of questions you should be able to answer since you seem to know everything about the tribes.Lets see how much of what I ask is in any treaty.
  7. scott333
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    scott333 - May 05, 2012 9:53 am
    zjones10.This has nothing to do with me being a racist like you think I am.It has to do with the tribes telling us what we can and can not do.You might not think I know much about history but your wrong.And for your information I happen to have a good number of friends who belong to the tribes around the State.I talk to them about these issue and almost all of them are against what theirs and the other tribes are doing.I'm sure you will just say they are lying so I don't get mad at them.
  8. zjones10
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    zjones10 - May 04, 2012 3:23 am
    Yet Andrew Jackson had the audacity to usurp the authority of the Judicial branch and remove the Native from their lands anyway. Why does this matter? This is a poignant example of the miserable conditions that Natives have endured throughout their thread of history. We cannot, and we should not have a right to simply take their culture and historical identity away from them. However, I am practical. We ought to ask if the nine tribes of our region are ok with letting us use the mascots.
  9. zjones10
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    zjones10 - May 04, 2012 3:19 am
    If a local tribe allows a high school to use the mascot then I think that is acceptable as well; however, we can't simply trivialize the matter. This issue is serious and goes beyond simply who is and is not Native American. This is an issue of identity theft. How can we allow our educational instiations to continue stealing an identity that was never theirs to begin with. Cherokee Indians vs. Georgia (1830) ruled in favor of the Natives to retain the rights to their hallowed grounds.
  10. zjones10
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    zjones10 - May 04, 2012 3:16 am
    scott333: You are one of the most racially insensitive people that I have ever had the displeasure of spending the last five minutes watching you rant about an issue that extends simply beyond who will pay for the removal of the emblems. Learn a history lesson and learn that we have never honored our treaties with the Native American populations. How does this affect a sports mascot? The emblems represent a cultural heritage and should be considered sacred.
  11. scott333
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    scott333 - May 02, 2012 7:59 am
    And Polar Bear,your so right saying since they started this and if it does happen they should pay for all the changes they have asked to be done.Mkae them pay for every single thing down to the last item and dime.The problem with that is that they will just go to the Government asking for the funds to do it and again they will get what they ask for.Lts see?.Shut schools,cut teachers,cut programs,let the schools fall apart but spend thousands & thousands to do what the tribes want."WOW".
  12. scott333
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    scott333 - May 02, 2012 7:54 am
    It's like I have said before.If the Government said today the indians were going to lose all the Casino's "they should not be allowed to have" and lose all the other freebee's the Government gives them and lets them get away with and said the Italians were going to get everything 99% of the so called tribal members would some how become Italians.
  13. scott333
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    scott333 - May 02, 2012 7:50 am
    penelop.I'm not sure if your sticking up for the tribes or saying we should not be listening to anything they say.As for what happened 100 or more years back between the indians and us who cares.If we are supposed to pay for something that did or maybe didn't happen maybe they should pay for all the things they decided to steal from my relatives when the tribes would raid houses.Nobody did more stealing and murdering of families then the indian tribes.
  14. Polar Bear
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    Polar Bear - May 01, 2012 12:56 pm
    Whoever started this politically correct nonsense should be the one who has to pay to change all the schools costs for changing everything from uniforms to gym floors, It will cost many many thousands of dollars to change everything when our schools can't afford to even repair schools that have water, heating, mold, etc. problems in the buildings. We can't afford more teachers, but we have to change a whole gyn floor to take off an Indian mascot name ? How rediculous can we get?
  15. robncindy
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    robncindy - May 01, 2012 12:06 pm
    It seems to me that the state shouuld be worrying about more crucial problems of our public schools than the mascot names. We can't afford to hire enough teachers to teach our students or keep our schools open. We have cut many programs out of our public schools that kept many students from dropping out. Instead of addressing these problems our government is more concerned about our mascot names? Come on Salem there are much better ways to focus your concerns on our public school problems.
  16. penelop
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    penelop - May 01, 2012 11:10 am
    Scott333 asked: Why should anyone who does not go by our laws and policies have any right to tell us what we can or can not do?.

    Answer: Because we're still paying for what our ancestors did to the Native Americans 100 years ago. Notice I said "our ancestors." Not us. What is the appropriate length of time to feel guilty about this? 100 years? 200 years? Just wanted to know if there was some sort of formal waiting period.
  17. scott333
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    scott333 - May 01, 2012 10:51 am
    I say if they get their way on this we go to the Casinos and their reservations and take pictures and every word,sign,picture and everything else we see that's not an indian picture or name and go to the State and tell them we want it removed from tribal lands or properties because it's making it hard for my children to learn and the triabl kids pick on our children and it's hurting our religion.If they don't make them remove it we should be able to put a law suit against the State.
  18. scott333
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    scott333 - May 01, 2012 10:46 am
    The tribe members get the best free healthcare,pay no taxes on money earned when they work on tribal property,pay no property taxes,don't have to go by State laws on work on tribal lands,our local and state police have no juristiction on tribal lands if the tribes say to get out yet they can police our land and citizens.Why should anyone who does not go by our laws and policies have any right to tell us what we can or can not do?.
  19. scott333
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    scott333 - May 01, 2012 10:36 am
    The last time this issue was in the paer there was a good number sticking up for the tribes but I think how people trully feel is now coming out by what I read here.The remarks are the best I have had the pleasure of reading since this all started.I guess it's time we get rid of our language and ask everyone what they are offended by,what hurts their religious beliefs,what hurts their kids in school and what mascots they dont like and whats left we can build from that.
  20. scott333
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    scott333 - May 01, 2012 10:31 am
    I think our wonderful State Government should pay attention to all the Comment sections in papers like this instead of listening to the few who could afford to go in front of them at the meetings.I for one can't afford to pay for gas and a motel room just to give them my point of view.Why should they make their decisions on what they hear from 30 or 40 people?.It all reality they probably could care less what anyone had to say except for the tribal members who cried their case.
  21. penelop
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    penelop - May 01, 2012 9:48 am
    Like I said before, now we'll have to rename Coquille, Siuslaw, Siskiyou, North and South Dakota, etc., etc. How stupid.
  22. coastgirl
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    coastgirl - May 01, 2012 9:43 am
    No Vikings, Pirates, Axe Men, or anything related to people. I am of Scandinavian descent and could argue that Vikings being used as a mascot is offensive, as I do not identify with old world beastly men who raped and pillaged every place they went. Do we see how ridiculous this can all get? Either be ok with using groups of people as mascots, or just get rid of using people as mascots altogether.
  23. coastgirl
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    coastgirl - May 01, 2012 9:40 am
    I attended a liberal arts college who preached diversity and cultural sensitivity, so I get it. However, the one thing that we are forgetting is that there are other races or "tribes" of people that are used as mascots. And while the idea of using native americans may be a touchy subject because they are a minority and terrible things happened to them, I say if you are going to ban using an ethnic group as mascots, you are going to have to do away with all ethnic groups as mascots. That means:
  24. IWanttoknow
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    IWanttoknow - April 30, 2012 9:21 pm
    School Districts/individual schools should file Trademarks on all their School Mascots Name or Image! Try using A Duck Called University of Oregon. Just watch out for the 'rickoshays' from the many law firms (or this a 'oriental term or Irish?)that represent the 'pages and pages' of trade marked, names, phrases,quotes, poems, shucks everything! The twin to TM is Copy Right CR followed up by cousin Patent (Patent pend.). I won't go into international relatives of these 'Legalese'. Opinion.
  25. Local Jerk
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    Local Jerk - April 30, 2012 7:27 pm
    Indian names huh? Ok, let me review this a little bit for you folks. Growing up I was associated with the Coos Tribe. Our Chief's name (in English) was pronounced "Bill". Later the Chief of the Coquille tribe (in English) was "Tony". Chief "Bill's son is called " Skip". Would Chief "Bill" Brainard have raised a complaint about the " Buffalo Bills"? Would Chief Tony Tanner have demanded Kellogs find another hero for their frosted flakes besides "Tony" the Tiger"? This whole thing is stupid!
  26. reads the news
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    reads the news - April 30, 2012 4:26 pm
    I have Native American ancestors, and it doesn't bother me one bit that schools, clubs or whatever want to use my blood line as their logo, mascot, or whatever.
    I agree that all this attention to cultures just keeps predjudice at the forefront of everyone's attention.
  27. CB Lifer
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    CB Lifer - April 30, 2012 3:35 pm
    I would think that using "Braves" or any other "Indian" term would be considered a credit to the tribes! Taking on a name that means strength and honor to represent a school/school team should be an honor. That someone thought the Indians were that important and strong and honorable to use their names/terms, etc. When will all of this crap end? This is the kind of thing that makes prejudice continue. Sovereign nation, a term that means we can do whatever we want. Oh yeah, and I am part Indian!
  28. 1980 Pirate
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    1980 Pirate - April 30, 2012 2:32 pm
    PETA just called, and the animals dont want us using their names as mascots either. I am still waiting for Capt Jack Sparrow to call.
  29. scott333
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    scott333 - April 30, 2012 12:11 pm
    If we should have to go by what they want donw in our public schools and public land we should be able to make them remove anything that we feel offensive to us.Make them all the names and logo's we don't want them using down.I don't like them using rifles,pistols,power boats,cars,trucks,houses,electricity,airplanes the list goes on and on.It makes it hard for my kids to learn seeing them use things like this and it hurts our religion seeing them use things and hearing them use our language.
  30. scott333
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    scott333 - April 30, 2012 12:03 pm
    Here's the thing.they say their tribal students are picked on and called names.What do you think is going to happen if the State makes the schools change the names from something the families and students have always wanted to be affiliated with and be called?.It will be 100 times worse than what you think it is now.They also say they are a soveriegn nation and they don't have to go by our laws so what gives them any rights at all over public education?.
  31. scott333
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    scott333 - April 30, 2012 11:58 am
    Why should we allow any of the tribes to help us decide what the name or logo's should be?.They don't like the ones that have been used for years and years and never said anything about it until they decided it was time to cause more troble over an issue in all reality have no right to do.The names and logo's do not harm their tribal members or harm their religion.They don't make it hard for their tribal students to learn at school.This is a joke to them.
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