Oregon bans Native American school mascots, images
The Oregon Board of Education has voted to ban Native American mascots at schools across Oregon.
May 18th, 2012
09:54 PM ET

Oregon bans Native American school mascots, images

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - Public schools in Oregon must discontinue the use of Native American names, symbols or images as mascots following a State Board of Education vote.

Prohibited names include, "Redskins," "Savages," "Indians," "Indianettes," "Chiefs" and "Braves," the board said in a statement Thursday.

The board by a 5-1 vote adopted the rule and gave schools until July 2017 to comply.

"I do not believe any of our schools with Native American mascots intended to be disrespectful," state Superintendent Susan Castillo said in a statement. "Our role as educators needs to be to create a safe, supportive, and welcoming environment for all of our students — an environment which honors them for who they are as individuals with a rich and varied cultural history. We can no longer accept these stereotypical images for the sake of tradition — not when they are hurting our kids."

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Filed under: Policy • Sports
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Even more supression

    Big Brother is alive and well. Dollars to pesos this ban loses in court.

    May 22, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  2. DYBO

    The Lone Ranger and Tonto are surrounded by Indians closing in for the kill- Lone Ranger "Well Tonto, I guess we are going to die this time" Tonto "What do you mean we? Paleface!"

    May 22, 2012 at 9:19 am |
  3. GET

    Two comments. First, Native American. I don't like this phrase for what it supposed to convey. If you were born in Germany, you would be a native German. Since I was born in American, I regard myself as a native American. By the way, my HS mascot was and is the Ranger. As in Forest Ranger, decked out in what looks like a paramilitary uniform. This is a dying breed. Should we change it? My college mascot was and is a Husky. This school is in an area that gets between 100 and 300 inches of snow a year. Guess why the mascot is a Husky? Should it be changed because someone thinks it is a demeaning reference to the Aleuts?

    A new high school called Eisenhower High School was built in a town I lived in. The students were told they could select the mascot. After some campaigning and voting they decided on the Eagle. The school administrators immediately said NO, it is too war like. The students and their parents became highly perturbed at the school's actions. The administrators relented. It is still the Eisenhower Eagles. Maybe if the students at the Oregon high school were given the option of choosing a new mascot or retaining the old the administrators might learn a thing or two about their students. And maybe, just maybe, the students would learn a new respect for the administrators.

    May 22, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • Mick

      @GET – Two comments. First, Native American. I don't like this phrase for what it supposed to convey. If you were born in Germany, you would be a native German.
      ACTUALLY You are Incorrect, IF you were born in Germany you would be a foreigner. You can ONLY be German IF and ONLY IF your parents are German (Austrian, Swiss) also you can be born any where in the world. Unlike the USA where location of birth 'Jus Soli' (of the soil) defines your Citizenship, Germans as do most people's of the Human Race – are 'Jus Sanguinis' (of the Blood). So NO if you were born in Germany, you could never be full proper German unless you inherited it by birthright.

      May 22, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  4. Tracy

    Every people or culture has been conquered or mixed or intermingled over thousands of years. To try and fix every bad decision of the past would lead to insanity. How far you going to go back...you going to pay the Irish back for abuse when they came over, chinese? What about Asia or Europe which has had multiple invasions and conquering of people over thousands of years. Get over it and move on......

    May 22, 2012 at 8:55 am |
  5. CJH

    Go Ducks!

    May 22, 2012 at 8:31 am |
  6. Lou Cypher

    Wow, we've not only eradicated them from the physical continent, we are now eradicating them from our language and culture.

    In another couple hundred years, no one will believe America was inhabited by anyone other than European descendants and the Africans they brought.

    May 22, 2012 at 4:04 am |
  7. Loyal Northern Democrat

    I am 1/4th Indian. Send me your money so I can buy a bottle.

    May 21, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
  8. Loyal Northern Democrat

    Just remember the USA Indian battle cry.... "Bingo" or "Jackpot"

    May 21, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • Infringement

      No, both of those are reserved for Catholics.

      May 22, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  9. Loyal Northern Democrat

    This will teach them to invade America from Asia.

    May 21, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  10. Loyal Northern Democrat

    They need to change the mascot name to "The Stinking, Drunken, Lazy, Squaws"

    May 21, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • mtcoolbreeze

      This comment shows what an ass you are. No intelligence at all !!!

      May 22, 2012 at 1:33 am |
  11. cedarc

    This is an interesting argument since "Native Americans" are not native to our continent. They came here over a land bridge that existed during an ice age so they while they have been here longer they are not native. Something that is often overlooked is that they were made citizens of the United States by act of Congress in the 1920's which should mean that they have the same rights and responsibilities as all United States citizens something overlooked frequently by our Federal Government. One thing is certain, they are among the most mistreated of our resident minorities, jammed on reservations many of which were the least desirable lands the US Government had, forbidden to retain their heritages, their languages and customs that are so very important to any ethnic group in America. They are kept in an artificial poverty that would not be acceptable to any citizen of the United States. Their lifespans are shorter than average Americans and in each statistic dealing with basic life there are at or near dead last.
    The use of terms like "Warrior," "Brave," Chief," are not to my mind demeaning, but terms of respect when used as mascots. But similar terms can be demeaning if they are directed at a person. It is there usage that should be controlled not the words themselves. It seems to me that if our Nation spent just one years allocation of funds to fight hunger and poverty in other Countries around the globe on impoverished Americans we would all be better for the effort.

    Sincerely,
    CedarC

    May 21, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Ken

      As a point of fact, you are wrong. Native Americans are INDEED native. They were here before – and when – "America" was established. By definition, they are native.

      May 21, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
      • Russ

        A ridiculous torturing of the language & logic trying to make a point.

        May 21, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
      • Loyal Northern Democrat

        Not true. They invaded from Asia. Also, CNN has been reporting that the Scandinavians were here first. Read.

        May 21, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Greg

      The land ice bridge theory should not be used in an effort to absolve the US of moral responsibility for its past wrongs. Regardless of the origins of Native Americans, right is right and wrong is wrong. Period

      May 21, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • jbkorn02

      I'll admit they weren't from here but they had owned the land for millions of years. That gives them a bit of say

      May 22, 2012 at 2:53 am |
  12. Warrior

    I am a Warrior from Lebanon High School in Oregon, I always will be. I am wondering if this new law applies to the Chemawa Indian High School "Braves" in Salem, OR. This is an all Indian School with an Indian Mascot. Just wondering?

    May 21, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  13. jbkorn02

    I love dolphins and think it is just horrible that a football team can use they're names and even put a logo of one of these beautiful creatures on theyre helmets. This greatly offends me. How do I go about getting they're name and logo changed?

    May 21, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  14. jbkorn02

    The Braves is an offensive name? I'm sure any Native American called brave would be greatly offended! How horrible it is that they used that word!

    May 21, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  15. Tsalagi

    As for the Sports Illustrated Survey and the Annenberg Public Policy Center, they were greatly skewed. They did not tell all that the % of those asked was less than 10% of the same number of non-natives asked. That leaves a margin of error way past +10 or -10. Those type of stats show nothing. It would be like the old Trident commercials were 4 out of 5 dentist prefer Trident – well they never told you they only asked 5 dentist. For the most part the total population of Native Americans both on the Reservations and off the Reservations do not llike and or support the use of American Indian Mascots.

    May 21, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • jbkorn02

      If you say they don't like it then my question is it even an issue in they're communities or only when lawmakers bring it up?

      May 21, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • W. Fijolek

      Few survey polls every person within a set population. In fact, it is next to impossible. Both Sports Illustrated and Annenberg were surprised by the results. They both were like many here who thought the names were offensive. If the polls were skewed the were skewed against the results they received.

      May 22, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  16. Toni

    How exactly is it "hurting our kids"???? We have been the Warriors ever since I remember. This is a compliment, not a degradation. Gripe about something more important – like bullying, drugs & drinking!!!

    May 21, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • jbkorn02

      I'd love to see an example of one of these so called "hurt kids". My high school mascot was the Trojans. It still is and I haven't heard a complaint in my life. The Trojans were a people who were eventually wiped out completly. Why is that one ok?

      May 21, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  17. Errogant 2

    Go Fighting Banana Slugs!!! Oh wait...they are a native species.....can't use the name anymore I guess😦

    May 21, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • jbkorn02

      Keep away from the Bannana Slugs. They are not to be made fun of by being used as a logo trying to boost school spirit.

      May 21, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  18. bbalmer

    Let's require that all teams adopt the name of food items. We could have the Fighting Ding-Dongs or the Fierce Ho-Hos. Maybe those product manufacturers would sponsor teams!?!

    May 21, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • jbkorn02

      The government will step in on that one. They would say it's trying to get our kids to eat unhealthy treats that are in those names.

      May 21, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  19. etm

    University of California Santa Cruz's mascot is the BANANA SLUGS and University of California Irvine's mascot is the ANTEATER. Maybe, to not offend any body we should start changing names like San Diego Chargers to San Diego Earthworm and the San Diego Padres to San Diego Slugs.No, You cannot satisfy everybody and changing the name of the mascot will not solve anything because somebody will find something on the new name offensive and we start all over again.

    BTW, I spend 5 years at San Diego State University and I always like my Aztecs. I do not find it offensive and as a matter of fact I see the Aztecs a superior tribe in the American continent before the spaniards came, a tribe I learned to admire. Then comes students who wanted it changed, those who have not even earned a diploma in my Alma Mater wanted to do changes to my school without consulting the Alumni who earned a degree from SDSU. I am glad my Aztecs is still there.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  20. Richard

    So, what about Native European names like Vikings, Fighting Irish (talk about insensitive!!!) and the animals from which we all evolved like Bears, Cougars, and DUCKS (yea Oregon) etc? So, we can all just use letters and numbers, e.g. Team A, Smithville 9s, etc.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  21. skooter

    Mascots have always been a source of enthusiastic pride. Can't I be proud of the Braves or Redskins if I want to? Sound like alot of folks are ashamed of it. If so, we don't want you on our team!

    May 21, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  22. cowboy

    now they should trademark all of the names – chiefs, braves, tribe, indians, tomahawks, etc. – and make $$$ selling it to the white man... in exchange for liqour and guns! do you think it'll work twice?

    May 21, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  23. Owl96

    I suggest that the first high school to change its mascot, changes it to "Visitor." At least the name will be correct at every road game. Look, I doubt that any new school would choose a Native American name. I think the rule is unnecessary, but they have 5 years to choose a new name. Does the law include a rule to change all scoreboards, or can they just change the mascot and leave the current scoreboards alone?

    May 21, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  24. Fuyuko

    Are we going to ban all 'people mascotts' my school's mascot was the 'padres' and I hated that one. And what about the local high school: "Spartans" Are we banning that too?

    May 21, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • se123

      I disagree. We, as in the US, did not rape, pillage, steal and almost wipe out an entire race of padres or spartans. So I think it's a little different.

      May 21, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  25. Native

    i don't find the names offensive at all but if u look at everything The U.S. has done in the past, they took our land and resources, put my people on reservations and declared this native continent free land. the word free land is the reason my ancestors were all masacered. greedy people living on stolen land.

    May 21, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • W. Fijolek

      Wars are part of the history of the world, whether they be clashes of civilizations or between tribes. It was even the case here in the Americas prior to the arrival of the Europeans. Native Americans, like Europeans, didn't live side by side in harmony with their neighbors. Wars have always been fought over ideas and resources. Many struggles and many brutalities occurred here in the Americas both by the hand of Europeans and natives alike.

      May 21, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  26. W. Fijolek

    As far as I know only a couple studies ever surveyed native American views toward these nicknames. The first was done by Sports Illustrated in 2002. They were surprised to see that most native Americans didn't find the use of these nicknames as offensive. They were also surprised to see the most common sports nicknamed apparel worn on reservations was the "Redskins".

    The second study was done by the Annenberg Public Policy Center in 2004. That study essentially confirmed the Sports Illustrated poll's findings, concluding that 91% of the American Indians surveyed in the 48 states on the mainland USA found the name "Redskins" acceptable.

    Remarkably, these facts are little known or ignored by those who think they know better than native Americans themselves. I suppose many think it is their job to tell native Americans what they should find offensive. To me, that is what is really offensive.

    May 21, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • L. Song

      I don't really care what these polls say, because I know LOTS of Native Americans who find this mascot stuff VERY offensive – and ANY offense is enough offense to bag a bunch of really obnoxious and racist images that belong in the dustbin of history.

      THEREFORE,

      I think it is great that Oregon is saying, 'let us not be racist and insensitive.'

      Guess what? This is as much about the white people as about the Indians. This is about some good white people saying, 'we don't want to be racist clods. We wan't to be honorable people and treat our fellow Americans honorably.' Good for them! (And about time.)

      There is no need for racist imagery. America can be better than that – and so it is good to make positive changes such as this. It sets a good example for our kids, and it makes for a more equitable and respectful environment for all. We need that. America still has a racism problem – and we need to deal with it, not try to sweep it under the rug. And just because some Native Americans have decided to tolerate our ignorance, does not mean we should keep being ignorant. And just because some Native Americans wear a 'redskin sweatshirt' this does not make these images any less offensive to those who CANNOT tolerate them. My guess is, some folks wear them as a joke! That is a time honored way to deal with insult.

      We should stop making excuses for ourselves. Racism is racism and it is bad. When people decide not to be racist, that is good. PERIOD.

      May 21, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
      • W. Fijolek

        It isn't the job of government to prevent us from being offended. There are a plethora of things that happen everyday that offend almost all of us. Native American nicknames and imagery were not banned by the NCAA because they are offensive but because of perceived hostility , and hostility is measured by intent of the user not by the subjectivity of the recipient.

        May 21, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
      • cowboy

        "you're just yeller!" (yellow)

        May 21, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
      • W. Fijolek

        If you don't care about the opinions of native Americans themselves why should anyone care about your views?

        May 21, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
      • jbkorn02

        A mascot was in no way racist. If anything it's reminding people that there were people here before us. Any Native American I've met would laugh at the idea of being mad about a mascot. Especially when most of the mascots in question portry a postive light on the culure . In reality the Indians slaughtered innocents just as much as the whites.

        May 21, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
      • Roll over and play dead

        Your cream puff is getting cold, sweetie... no offense to cream puffs intended, of course.

        May 22, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  27. pappy

    Just another reason to replace the archaic public school system with something else. Stupid is as stupid does.

    May 21, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  28. SJB

    For all those who think native persons should consider being used as a mascot an honor: look at what is often used otherwise. Animals – do you want to be put in a class with the creatures that are considered so unimportant that we kill them constantly? Government positions (Washington Senators) – those are denigrated in the press and daily around water coolers, is it an honor to be put on par with that? Tell me, is being dehumanized an honor?

    May 21, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • random

      dude, you are irrelevant...shut up

      May 21, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • emma

      um......cowboys, saints, patriots, etc etc

      May 21, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  29. Gary

    Maybe some suggested names like the Portland Pansies, the Aurora Toads, etc. I guess those would be banned for insulting flowers or animals. Why can't they take care of real problems instead of perceived problems. Why can't Johnny read? Because it would hurt his self-esteem if he makes a mistake. Why can't Suzy add or subtract? Because she might have to work a low-paying menial job as a cashier because she can make change!

    May 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  30. Don

    Instead of sitting there with your head in the sand start inindating the people of government that make these idiotic pc decisions with what you want. Now even the American Indians can't use any of these Indian referenced name in their own schools this is about as stupid as it gets, but wait, untill you start doing something about it it will get worse. At election time, every election, vote the person out of office so that we have constance chand and not rulling person or groups.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  31. Bridger

    The irony I see is the people who belive political correctness has gone too far are more than likley not of the ethinicty being offended. Ask the Native American community who are supposedly being "honored" if they think its offensive or not. Chances are a majority of them are of a mind set it's not much of an honor at all.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • cowboy

      i would ask them but down in south florida they all own the casino and ummm, if you owe them money you shouldn't walk in. indian mafia... it exists!

      May 21, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  32. Jimbo

    Could someone please explain to me why "Chiefs" is offensive? Seems more like a respectful term than anything else. Is there something beyond the completely unsupportable argument that it is a stereotype? What is wrong with a "stereo type" of strength, wisdom, self-sufficiency, and leadership? It is a fovorable image. Please answer with a logical argument instead of personal attacks.

    May 21, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Beth

      Agreed! The Native American culture is one to be celebrated and honored, not banned. There are numerous examples of groups of people used as mascots, including the Patriots, the Cowboys, Pirates / Buchaneers, and my own alma mater, the Cavaliers. Is UVA being disrespectful to royalist supporters of King Charles in the 1600s by our choice of a mascot? Do the Patriots and Cowboys have to change their names too? Believe me, I am the first person in line demanding equality and respect for fellow humans, but this is PC gone crazy. How about instead people focus on actual discrimination and bigotry? There is more than enough to keep you busy.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Bocephus Moonshine

      Oregon is doing the right thing. These names are offensive not because they are were originally intended to be derogatory (that's another question). They are offensive because naming your school mascot after slang terms used to represent dozens of destroyed cultures is not the proper way to honor those cultures.

      Anyone who is stupid enough to think putting a Native American face or a tomahawk on the side of a helmet used in a violent sport honors Native American culture is too stupid to be trusted with honoring anyone or anything.

      Each of the many Native American cultures was unique, and naming your football team the "Redskins" or the "Braves" lumps all of those cultures into one, and in doing so, honors none of them.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
      • georgieporgie

        Pray tell dude – if Indian Chiefs are not called chief by the braves in his tribe, just exactly what is he called – oh forgot, it's head honcho and worker bees ....... get a frickin life. Go ask the head of an indian tribe if he is offended by being called 'chief' before you spew your lame response

        May 21, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Steve

      Seeing a bunch of Non-Indians dressed up in Costume Chief apparel – headdress, mocs and all is racist. As if all Indians dress like that. Total stereotype.

      What if we went to a foreign country and they put a show on in respect of us, and all dressed up as Cowboys or Fur trappers. No one likes to be pigeonholed, and mascots do that – to a whole race of people.

      May 21, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  33. mymindzeye

    Each step in the direction of respect and understanding is a positive one. Please people, remember that history is written by the "winners". It does NOT reflect the truth.

    And to you nasties posting here – you have no right to throw stones.

    May 21, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • cowboy

      might makes right and 99% of history is recorded by the winners. we americans are the only ones in history that haven't sought to kill ALL of the losers

      May 21, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  34. ADSLubec

    I was going to say political correctness gone crazy but this is beyond political correctness. Nobody means any disrespect. In fact the names are used IN RESPECT. Wnat's next are we going to ban children from playing cowboys and indians? What a bunch of BS.

    May 21, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  35. therealmonkeybiz

    We killed most of them. Lets cut the survivors a little slack.

    May 21, 2012 at 1:18 am |
  36. driverjeff

    when i have gone to a casino of indian orgin,,they look a us white folks like they want to chop off our heads and take our money before we even gamble,,they look of disrespect is given when we whites are there to spend our hard earned money,, the tone in there voice is less than respectable..to say the least. they have a lot of nerve compaining with all the casino land they occupy . what happen to" sticks and stones may break my bones, but names wll never hurt me??"

    May 20, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • jase

      You're a moron

      May 21, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
      • cowboy

        no you

        May 21, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Aaron

      Jeff, you are the worst kind of moron. The racist kind. Eurotrash.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:29 am |
  37. driverjeff

    omg..the indians ge offended over using names they created?? whats the big deal?/ is ok for them to open casinos and make illegal money and sell tabacco and alcohol ,but it not ok to use their names they created long ago!?? hipacrits.. omg!!

    May 20, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  38. Portland tony

    The irony of banning English words that settlers used to describe the indigenous people of North America will hasten the day when all native peoples are relegated to the ancient history dump.

    May 20, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  39. hamsta

    i hope the cherokee tribe sues the state for exclusion

    May 19, 2012 at 3:24 am |