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Tribe Disapproves of Oregon Banning Native Mascots

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One of the 15 schools affected by the Oregon Board of Education’s decision to ban Native American mascots is Siletz Valley School, an Indian charter school whose mascot is the Siletz Warrior, an Indian in a headdress, which will now have to change.

And the Confederated Tribe of Siletz Indians—one of 10 federally recognized tribes in Oregon—issued a statement Tuesday, May 22 expressing its disappointment with the board’s decision to ban the mascots.

“It is the opinion of the Siletz Tribe that this ban does nothing to address the real issues of racism nor does it address the issue of the low self-esteem of Native students attending public schools,” the statement from the tribe said. “For the Siletz Tribal community, this action has a negative impact on our students and our community. We will be forced once again to succumb to the misguided intentions of people who have no knowledge of Indian communities.”

In March the tribe passed a resolution recommending that the board “recognize the authority of the Tribes of Oregon to approve the use of Native American mascots and logos in their community schools.”

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The resolution also said that “Other schools in the State of Oregon who wish to establish or maintain a Native American logo and mascot be required to promote cultural studies that combat stereotypes, teach students the value of cultural symbols and portray the true history of the people of their local Tribal community, so that they promote pride in and respect for a Native American logo and mascot.”

The Register-Guard reported on May 23 that it’s unclear whether the Oregon Board of Education will be able to enforce the ban on tribal land though. The Guard also reported that other tribes in the state including the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpua and Siuslaw Indians support the ban.

Their tribal chairman, Bob Garcia, told The Guard, “If it’s the Siletz Warriors, run by the Siletz Tribe, I don’t have a problem with that.”