By Michael Sullivan
The state board ruled that Oregon public schools could keep their Native American mascots, pending approval from an Oregon tribe.
The ruling would allow Roseburg High School to remain as the Indians as long as the Cow Creek Umpqua Tribe agrees. The ruling also allows the Reedsport Community Charter School Braves and the North Douglas High School Warriors in Drain to seek approval from tribes to keep their mascots as well.
“Right now we have sent a proposed Memorandum of Understanding to the Cow Creek Tribe and their attorneys are looking at that and making changes to it,” said Roseburg Public Schools Superintendent Gerry Washburn.
The "Warrior" image above has the usual problems: a half-naked savage in an aggressive stance using warlike implements. In addition, the child is simultaneously 1) wild and untamed, and 2) a cute, cuddly plaything for his white masters. He's a defanged threat--like a wolf that's been neutered.
The school district might as well repeat the commonplace 19th-century tropes. White folks = the Great White Father who is wise and powerful. Indians = naive and helpless children who need a firm hand. Because that's what they're saying with this mascot.
And this is the mascot that the Cow Creek Umpqua Tribe is thinking of approving. It isn't a warrior, it's a child. It has nothing to do with Cow Creek culture, Oregon tribal culture, or Native American culture.
It's a pure fiction...yet somehow Cow Creek has the right to approve it? That shows you how corrupt the Oregon mascoting process is. If the system were concerned with shielding schoolchildren from racism, this racist stereotype would be disqualified automatically. There's no justification for it...none.
For more on the subject, see "Mohawk Indians" Seek Grand Ronde's Approval and Grand Ronde: We'll Decide About Mascots.