Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber flexed his executive muscle Friday by vetoing a bill that would have permitted the use of Native American mascots in schools throughout the state.
The bill – Senate Bill 215 – would have permitted schools with Native American mascots to keep their moniker and name if a nearby federally recognized tribe approved.
In 2012, the Oregon Board of Education enacted a ban declaring that no Native American mascot or name can be used as of 2017. The ban orders schools in the state with murals of Native Americans or the like to remove them before then.
“I think it’s historic to watch a governor have the courage to veto this legislation, which now gives Oregon one of the toughest rules against the use of mascots,” Sam Sachs, a strong proponent of the ban, told Oregonlive.com.
Throughout the country, some schools with Native American mascots have sought the approval and pedagogy of local Native American nations sans legislative order.
In Colorado, Arapahoe High School has maintained a relationship with the Arapaho Nation for 17 years. In 1995, the school renamed its gym to honor an Arapaho elder, according to the Denver Post.
Governor Kitzhaber says he will revisit the mascot issue in the 2014 legislative year.