Eight Oregon schools who have Native American mascots must pick another, after the Board of Education has banned the images.
According to KDRV-12, this list includes that Rogue River High School Chieftains, whose mascot is a sense of pride for the school, as they have seen many influences from Native American students, like Jim Martin, who is represented at the top of a totem pole, located at the football stadium.
Thanks to the new ban, the totem poll will likely have to be taken down. Cheryl Martin Sund, Martin’s daughter, stated:
“If they took this away, from our school district, basically, they were doing what the white man did to the Indians years and years ago; they’re stripping them of their identity and making them be something that they are not.”
The Grand Forks Herald reports that more than 600 high schools and colleges across the country have done away with their Native American mascots, including 20 in Oregon.
Many critics have stated that Indian mascots are racist. They have also argued that these mascots have reinforced stereotypes, and also promoted bullying of Native American students.
Supporters of the mascots have stated that instead, they are a way for America to honor Native history, and also evoke values of strength and bravery.
Se-ah-dom Edmo, vice president of the Oregon Indian Education Association, told the Board of Education that:
“It is racist. It is harmful. It is shaming. It is dehumanizing.”
“Another seven high schools identified as the Warriors will be allowed to keep their nickname but will have to change mascots or graphics that depict Native Americans.”
If the schools do not cooperate by 2017, they could risk losing their funding.