Oregon Bans Native American Mascots

By TRT STAFF

Eight Oregon high schools will have to retire their Native American mascots after the Board of Education voted to prohibit them, giving the state some of the nation’s toughest restrictions on Native American mascots, nicknames, and logos. The 5-1 vote followed months of passionate and emotional debate about tolerance and tradition. The schools have five years to comply with the order or risk losing their state funding.

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. Since the 1970s more than 600 high school and college teams across the country have done away with their Native American nicknames, including 20 in Oregon.

“Native American mascots are a form of oppression that contributes to isolation among Native Americans and its social consequences,” said Tom Ball, assistant vice president of equity and diversity at the University of Oregon.  The Oregon Legislature voted in 2001 to eliminate the word “squaw” from geographic names because many Native Americans consider it offensive.

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May 10th, 2012

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