Oregonians seem split when it comes to supporting or opposing a proposed ban on the use of Native mascots and nicknames in high schools there.
As the Gazette Times of Corvallis, Ore., reports, there are arguments coming from both sides:
SALEM — Kiante Davis is well aware of controversy over the use of Native American symbols and team names. That’s partly why he chose to wear a headdress to Wednesday’s girls basketball state tournament game.
Davis, 15, is a Lebanon High School sophomore, and said he’s proud of his native heritage, which includes Cherokee and Montauk. Both the headdress and Lebanon’s team name, the Warriors, reflect that pride, he said.
“Mainly I did it because of school spirit,” he said. “I don’t take it (as) offensive.”
But an opposite viewpoint was also expressed last week, when the Oregon State Board of Education heard the first reading of a recommendation to ban Native American nicknames or mascots at more than a dozen Oregon high schools.
Sam Sachs of Portland, a 1986 graduate of South Albany High School, was one of three speakers Thursday who disagreed.
Sachs said he carried a giant Confederate flag, then a symbol of the South Albany Rebels, when he ran around the football field as a high school junior to celebrate his winning touchdown over West Albany. That symbol was wrong, Sachs said, and so are Indian symbols.
“To me, people aren’t mascots. Let me just say to you: African American mascot. Latino mascot. Jewish mascot. Lincoln High Jews?” Sachs asked. “Does that sound right to you?”
A decision is expected sometime in May.