(Salem, Ore.) – The Oregon State Board of Education voted 5-1 yesterday to adopt a rule prohibiting Oregon public schools from using Native American names, symbols, or images as school mascots. The vote yesterday gives Oregon some of the nation’s toughest restrictions on American Indian nicknames.
Eight schools, including The Dalles Wahtonka High School have until July 1, 2017 to comply or lose state funding. The Dalles has used the Indians mascot for more than a century.
Seven schools that use the word “warrior” to describe their mascot will only have to change the image used.
Researcher Stephanie Fryberg told board members at their April meeting that the use of Native Americans as mascots devalues and limits individual identity, even when these mascots are designed with the best intentions and are considered to be “honoring” and “respectful.”
Oregon State School Superintendent Susan Castillo released this statement: