Oregon Bans Native American Mascots

Courtney Williams's picture
Monday, May 21, 2012

For years, Banks High School in Oregon has had its own local twist on the national anthem, signing off with “Land of the free -- and home of the Braves!” That’s been a ra-ra reference to the yellow-and-black warrior with feathers and a mohawk that has always been the school’s mascot.

No more. The Oregon Board of Education, in possibly the most far-reaching regulation of its kind in the country, has voted to ban Native American mascots at schools across Oregon.

The measure will force at least 15 schools across the state to abandon the various chieftains, feathered horsemen and bow-and-arrow-wielding warriors that have adorned basketball backboards, gym floors and lockers for decades or longer. Schools that fail to make the change risk a loss of state funding.

Some districts had complained that the change would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and go against generations of community tradition. But board members in a 5-1 vote Thursday concluded that those concerns were outweighed by the state’s obligation to provide a nondiscriminatory education and to clamp down on stereotypes.

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