Suzan Harjo: Eliminating Indian mascots in Oregon schools

"After waiting in vain for five years for its public schools to voluntarily eliminate Native race-based sports stereotypes, Oregon is on the verge of making it mandatory. The Oregon Board of Education heard testimony on March 8 and 9, and is developing a rule that is likely to favor Native people over “Native” sports references. The board may propose the rule within weeks and vote on it as early as May 17.

The Board of Education’s staff recommends an administrative rule retiring “all Native American names, mascots and logos by Oregon Schools that received public funding.” Fifteen public high schools in Oregon have “Native” sports references, including Braves (2), Chieftains (1), Eagle Indians (1), Indians (4) and Warriors (7), and even more elementary and middle schools have “Indian” references in their athletic programs.

“The perpetuation of derogatory images of any one individual or group leads to misinformation and contributes to a hostile learning environment,” reports the board staff. ”The elimination of Native American mascots can lead to the end of culturally abusive behavior and this piece of institutionalized racism towards Native American people.”"

Get the Story:
Suzan Shown Harjo: Ending Stereotypes in Oregon School Sports (Indian Country Today 3/13)

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