2 Oregon tribes disappointed by school mascot ban

The Associated Press /

EUGENE — Oregon’s new ban on American Indian mascots in public schools means a charter school on tribal land may have to change its Warriors logo — a chief in a headdress.

The new rules have drawn objections from two of the nine tribal groups in Oregon recognized by the federal government, including the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians.

The rules adopted by the State Board of Education allow the nickname “warriors,” but not if it’s accompanied by imagery such as the chief in the Siletz Warriors’ logo.

“We will be forced once again to succumb to the misguided intentions of people who have no knowledge of Indian communities,” the Siletz tribes said in a statement.

Other American Indians have objected to the mascots, including Brenda Frank, a member of the Klamath Tribes and chairwoman of the body that made the rules, the state Board of Education.

She said she understood objections from the Siletz and the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde, but disagreed.

“With all due respect ... their responsibility is only to their membership and not to the community as a whole,” Frank told The Oregonian. “The Oregon State Board of Education speaks for all students in the state of Oregon.”

Schools that don’t follow the ban could lose state money. Fifteen high schools are affected. They face a 2017 deadline.

Siobhan Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde, said the board’s decision “tramples our sovereignty” and ignores calls for curriculum changes that accurately narrate American Indian history in Oregon.