Oregon School District Digs In Its Heels On Native Mascot

Apr 11, 2012

An Oregon School District is digging in its heels against a proposed state ban on Native American mascots. The School Board in the Willamette Valley farm town of Lebanon will consider a resolution Thursday to reject the ban.

The Oregon Board of Education could vote as soon as next month to phase out Native American-themed school mascots over the next five years. But the prospect isn't going over well in the Lebanon School District. The high school's athletes are called the Warriors and the logo includes an image of a Native American on a horse.

Athletic Director Rob Allen says he's not sure what the fuss is all about.  "In the 31 years that I've been here at Lebanon, I've never had anyone come up and say that we're dishonoring the Native Americans," Allen says. "And I have Native Americans that have played football for me and parents that don't understand it either."

Lebanon is one of 15 public school districts in Oregon that use Native American related terms as nicknames for their sports teams. The State Board of Education heard impassioned testimony last month that the use of such images is offensive to Native Americans.