Siletz Tribe makes it clear, it disagrees with Gov. Kitzhaber banning the use of Native American terms for sports teams or logos
Statement by the Siletz Tribe on the veto of SB 215 by Gov. Kitzhaber
We are very disappointed by Gov. John Kitzhaber’s decision on Aug. 16 to veto Senate Bill 215, which would have allowed a school district to enter into a written agreement with the geographically closest federally recognized Indian Tribe in Oregon to use the name, symbol or image of a mascot associated with said Indian Tribe.
In a Siletz Tribal Council resolution passed in March 2012, the Tribe recommended that the State of Oregon Board of Education “approve a resolution and administrative rule that recognizes the authority of Tribes in Oregon to approve the use of Native American mascots and logos in their community schools.”
The resolution went on to say 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.”
Still today, schools can ignore these recommendations because neither the state Board of Education (in its decision to ban Native American mascots in May 2012) nor the governor has found it necessary to include them. This penalizes several schools in Oregon, including Siletz Valley School, located in the Tribe’s historic homelands and whose teams have been called the Warriors from the beginning. Its Indian chief mascot is in jeopardy even though the local – Siletz – Tribe fully approves of its use and helps teach the true history of the Tribe and its language in the school.
The Siletz Tribe still believes that this ban does nothing to address the real issues of racism nor does it address the issue of low self-esteem of Native students attending public schools.
The Siletz Tribe does see a glimmer of hope, however, in that the ban does not take effect until 2017 and there is time to work out a consensus agreement with the state Board of Education or the Legislature on this topic. We will do our part to work toward this consensus and hope the state board and Legislature will do the same.