Reasonable resolution to tribal-mascot debate (OPINION)
By Reyn Leno
Our people are proud to be known as Indians, Braves, Warriors and Chiefs. The Oregon State Board of Education recently made the right decision to approve a rule that reinforces the Legislature's bill allowing for federally recognized tribes and neighboring school districts to enter into agreements on culturally acceptable and respectable mascot imagery.
We asked, why would the Board of Education not trust tribal governments to do the right thing in determining what is culturally appropriate with respect to a mascot? Why would the Board of Education not have faith in a federally recognized sovereign Indian tribe to make these decisions?
Federal recognition doesn't give Grand Ronde any insight into non-Oregon cultures. Leno and company don't know any more about these cultures than I do.
Reasoning with Grand Ronde
In response to Leno, anti-mascot activist Jacqueline Keeler wrote:
I've spoken to the Grand Ronde tribal reps at these meetings here in Oregon very clearly and in plain language why they do not have the right to okay the mascotting of my culture (which is not their culture). Really, this playing dumb act on their part can only be calculated and for some other purpose.
Someone else suggested we continue trying to reason with Grand Ronde. To which I responded:
I'm sure Grand Ronde has heard all the arguments from Jacqueline and others. They've chosen to ignore the arguments.
That's why I doubt more attempts to reason with them will work. I'd go for shaming them with widespread public criticism instead.
They're acting as if they're noble Indian chiefs who are only thinking of their people's welfare. Calling them out for their greed and corruption will shake their phony arguments.
It's like the Whitesboro case. Get people around the nation talking about this. Hope to attract big guns like The Daily Show or Stephen Colbert. Once the public becomes aware of this ridiculous situation--Oregon tribe approves Plains stereotypes--things may change.
Especially since the "tribe approves of mascots" meme is damaging across the country. Naysayers always bring up the Seminoles' approval of FSU. This will be another pro-mascot argument for their side.