Column: Compromise possible on Indian mascots

"The Native American mascot controversy has embroiled Oregon, with a considerable backlash to the State Board of Education considering banning Indians, Braves and Warriors as mascots.

On one side, you have a race of people who feel insulted by their depiction as a mascot. On the other, you have people proud of their school and its tradition.

If the weeks since the issue came to statewide attention have proved anything, it’s that there is a lot of distance between the two sides.

When such distance occurs between people, it’s easy to forget about the face behind an argument. The 14 schools in Oregon that have Native American mascots — Indians, Braves, Warriors — feel blindsided by the board of education.

But what triggered the proposal to ban these mascots was a person, a young Siletz Indian named Che Butler. While playing basketball for Taft High School in Lincoln City, Butler’s younger brother witnessed a halftime show at Molalla High where two mascot in buckskins and chicken feathers danced around each other.

They were offended. It’s a reaction you can’t deny. You can say you wouldn’t be offended in their shoes. You can talk about Fightin’ Irish and Vikings. You can say mascots honor Indians. But on that night, in that gym, Che Butler and his younger brother were hurt. You hear stories just like this all over the country."

Get the Story:
Rob McCallum: Negotiate a compromise for mascots (The Roseburg News-Review 10/25)

Relevant Links:
Oregon Department of Education -

Related Stories
Editorial: Don't force schools to drop Indian mascots (10/19)