Oregon Department of Education
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6/26/2012 1:03:00 PM
MEMORANDUM NO. 013-2011-12 – Native American School Mascots

TO: School District Superintendents
FROM: Ed Dennis, Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction
RE: Native American School Mascots

The Oregon State Board of Education has adopted Oregon Administrative Rule 581-021-0047 which prohibits Oregon public schools from using Native American names, symbols, or images as school mascots. The State Board’s decision was based on research showing that exposure to Native American mascots has a negative impact on the self-esteem and self-image of Native American children.

The rule defines “Native American mascot” as a name, symbol or image that depicts or refers to an American Indian Tribe, individual, custom or tradition that is used by a public school as a mascot, nickname, logo, letter head or team name. A public school may continue to use the team name “Warriors” as long as it is not combined with a symbol or image that depicts or refers to an American Indian Tribe, individual, custom or tradition. Sample images of Native American Mascots are available here PDF.

The rule requires each school district, education service district or sponsor of a public charter school to notify the Department of Education on or before January 1, 2013, if any school operated by the district or sponsored by the district uses a Native American Mascot. If your district or ESD has no school with a Native American Mascot, you do not need to respond to this reporting requirement.

If your district or ESD has a school or sponsors a charter school with a Native American Mascot, you must notify the Department of Education no later than January 1, 2013. A new mascot must be adopted no later than July 1, 2017, and the district/ESD/charter school sponsor must notify the Department of Education by that date of the adoption.

A report has been developed to assist school districts, education service districts and sponsors of public charter schools with the notification to the Department of Education of any schools operated by the district or sponsored by the district using a Native American Mascot. You can find this report at this link.

For more information about the use of Native American mascots by public schools (including a copy of the final rule and resolution) see: http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=3575 or contact Steve Woodcock at steve.woodcock@state.or.us eMail or 503-947-5797.
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