February 02, 2016

Grand Ronde: We'll decide about mascots

People were wondering why the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde seems to be involved in every mascot decision in Oregon. Here's an answer from Grand Ronde's chairman: They know best about mascots because they're Indians!

Reasonable resolution to tribal-mascot debate (OPINION)

By Reyn LenoI am Reyn Leno, and I'm proud to be an Indian who fought for this country as a warrior in Vietnam. I am tribal council chairman for the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, following in the footsteps of the chiefs that came before me and signed treaties with the United States.

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.
And:When the board of education passed an outright ban on Indian mascots we were amazed to find ourselves once again being told what was best for us. More astonishing was the Board of Education saying they knew better than federally recognized tribal governments as to what is and is not culturally appropriate.

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?
Comment:  To be clear, Leno is talking about an Oregon tribe's approving Plains, Eastern Woodland (Iroquois), and generic Indian imagery. Not imagery from Oregon's tribes.

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 seen plenty of Grand Ronde tribal members agreeing with us on this issue! It's just the council.

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.
I suggested someone write a response to Leno's op/ed--to nip this "approval" process in the bud before it becomes the norm. If school and pro teams learn they can shop for a tribe's approval, they'll do it. Dab Snyder is already trying it with his Redskins OAF and others will follow.

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.

Shame 'em

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.

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