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Press Release: For Immediate Release—April 9, 2013
Native American Students & Families Call Foul: Race-Based Sports Names a Violation of Their Educational Civil Rights
A few legislators in the Oregon House and Senate are trying to move forward a proposed bill that attempts to alter Oregon’s law preventing discriminatory race-based athletic nicknames in K-12 schools. Senator Jeff Kruse (R-Roseburg), a sponsor of one of those bills said in hearing, he is ”a lifelong proud Roseburg ‘Indian’” and that he doesn’t think this is a “real issue”. For Native American Students and Parents, this issue couldn’t be more real.
“I feel alienated in my own school hallways”, says Dakota Daniels. Dakota is a Junior at Sprague High School in Salem and is on the varsity cheerleading team. Every time her school plays the Roseburg ‘Indians’ the environment that race-based athletic nicknames create in her school, “…makes me feel objectified”. Dakota is not alone. According to the Oregon Department of Education there were over fifty scientific studies that confirm her experience which lead State Board of Education to ban their use in K-12 Schools last spring.
The Oregon Department of Education reports over 9,500 American Indian/Alaska Native students attend Oregon Schools, and officials at the Salem-Kaizer Indian Education Program, where Dakota lives, enroll students from over 90 different Tribes from all across the nation.
Dakota is from the Blackfeet Nation in Montana. Under the language any of the proposed bills she would still repeatedly be expected to confront the ‘Indians’, ‘Warriors’, any image or representation a local Tribe ‘approves’ she says, “My civil rights will continue to be violated. If a Tribe local to one of the schools approves a mascot, I still have to deal with it.”
WRITE YOUR SENATOR TODAY!
At the last OIEA Board Meeting (December 14, 2012) at Lewis & Clark College, the Board voted to write a letter in support of Dr. Tom Ball’s position at the University of Oregon. The Office of Institutional Equity and Inclusion is currently restructuring, and part of the changes include the elimination of the Assistant Vice President that works directly with Tribal communities.
We encourage you to write a letter addressing the elimination of Dr. Ball’s position. Below is a template we have created to assist you:
There will be a community meeting held at the University of Oregon Many Nations Longhouse on December 27, 2012 at 5:00 pm, if you would like to attend.
We would like to see as many voices represented as possible, so please email or mail your letters before the December 27th meeting.
An online petition has been created, please sign it an share it widely!
Stand Up, Speak Out:
Please join the OIEA and ask the State Board of Education to ban the use of Indian Mascots in Schools that receive State Funding.
Download this sample letter of support and let your voice be heard!
The Oregon State Board of Education Indian Mascot Page
National Congress of American Indians
Native American Rights Fund
PCUN, Oregon’s Farmworker Union
National Indian Child Welfare Association
Western States Center
The Urban League of Portland
NEWS: Ending Stereotypes in Oregon School Sports
Suzan Shown Harjo, Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee, received an honorary doctorate this year from the Institute of American Indian Arts for a lifetime of advocacy to Native American arts and culture.
By Suzan Shown Harjo
After waiting in vain for five years for its public schools to voluntarily eliminate Native race-based sports stereotypes, Oregon is on the verge of making it mandatory. The Oregon Board of Education heard testimony on March 8 and 9, and is developing a rule that is likely to favor Native people over “Native” sports references. The board may propose the rule within weeks and vote on it as early as May 17.
NEWS: Native American Mascots
The Oregon State Board of Education is considering a ban on Native American mascots in public schools. The board first heard the issue five years ago. Che Butler, who was in high school at the time, brought it up after he witnessed a Molalla High School halftime show featuring a Native American mascot with a target painted on his bare chest.
NIEA Resolution, passed their resolution in 2009
Titled: RESOLUTION 09-05 Elimination of race-based Indian Logos, Mascots, and Names
Summary of the APA Resolution Recommending Retirement of American Indian Mascots: