Education | Politics

Oregon lawmakers weigh another bill to allow Indian mascots





Oregon lawmakers are once again debating the use of Indian mascots in public schools.

In 2012, the Oregon Board of Education voted 5-1 to prohibit schools from using Native American names, symbols or images as mascots. Affected schools were given until 2017 to make changes.

Last year, however, lawmakers brought up a bill to change the policy. They said schools should be able to keep their mascots with tribal approval.

Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) vetoed the measure. He noted there was a lack of consensus in Indian Country -- the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians, the Oregon Indian Education Association and the National Indian Education Association support the ban but the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians and the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde said they should be able to allow certain mascots.

So lawmakers are back with another version. Senate Bill 1509 requires the Board of Education to develop new rules for mascots after consulting all tribes.

Kitzhaber has said he is open to the bill. It already passed the Senate and is making its way through the House.

Get the Story:
Native American mascot bill gets mixed reaction from Oregon House panel (The Oregonian 2/25)
Oregon House panel advances tribal mascots bill (AP 2/25)
Gov. Kitzhaber changes direction on school mascots (AP 2/19)

Some Opinions:
Editorial: Keep changes to mascot bill to minimum (The Corvallis Gazette Times 2/24)
Editorial: School mascot bill is right approach (The Coos Bay World 2/21)

Related Stories:
Editorial: Missed opportunity with veto of Oregon mascot bill (8/19)