Lars Larson: What’s wrong with mascots that honor Native Americans?

by Lars Larson

What in the world is wrong with having school mascots that honor Native Americans?

This one comes from my own back yard. A state school board that has decided that school mascots should not be Native American. Why? Has anybody asked the Indians about this?

For decades American schools have named their sports teams warriors and braves and chieftains. In fact, an awful lot of professional sports teams were named that way; some still are. And what’s the real problem?

When I talk to Indians, and by the way, I have Indian friends and they call themselves Indians, not Native Americans, they say they’re actually complemented by it. In fact, most of the people I find objecting to the policy are people who are white. They’ve never met an Indian in their life, and yet they say the Indians must be offended by this.

Frankly I’d be honored if somebody named a sports team after me, but the “Larses”? I don’t think so.

For more Lars Larson, visit Lars’ web site

UPDATE: The Oregonian ran a story late this afternoon (5/22) reporting that two tribes, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians and the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde, are disappointed with the Native American mascot ban.

  • The Bill Post Radio Show

    Fortunately, Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, who represents Lebanon, home of the Warriors, has been heavily involved in this process and though not able to change any minds on the Board of Ed, she has already submitted a bill to Legislative Counsel for the 2013 session that would spell out clearly that if a local tribe or tribes is ok with the use of the mascot, such as in Roseburg, then the resolution would not apply.
    Thank you to Rep. Sprenger for her diligence!

  • 3H

    ” In fact, most of the people I find objecting to the policy are people who are white. They’ve never met an Indian in their life, and yet they say the Indians must be offended by this.”
    Probably because you stopped being a journalist years ago, and have ceased caring about doing any real research.  Nice attempt at trivializing the other side of the debate, by the way.  Sadly, par for the course. 

  • David Appell

    What’s wrong with “honoring” people against whom our country committed genocide and whose civilizations we extinguished? Where should we start…?

    Truly honoring them would have meant respecting their nations and their right to live where and as they were. 

  • 3H

    In fact, most of the people I find objecting to the policy are people who are white. 

    Do you find that most of the people who are defending the policy are people who are white as well?  Think about it for a moment.  Perhaps you’ll catch on to the irony of your statement.

  • Oregonnative

         Personally, I am quite dissappointed in our people in Salem to make this their focus.  This is for standing behind some state “school board” organization to make this discision, that is affecting schools ( $ wise to change Logos) across the state with budgets in array.
         State Representatives and Senators, if you are not against it then you are “For It”. My representative’s stand up for something ( even thou  I am not in your district) like the unknown Rep. Les Springer did.
    Stop this nonsense or….
            …..continue it by changing all the names in Oregon with any hint of Native Americans-Indians in it. Shall we start with the name “Salem”.
             So do we continue forward with name changing or not. The final question is where do we stop.
          It is a plea, not a request

    • guest

      How about going numeric with mascot ID’s?   Of course, “No. 2’s” would then be ‘airing’ their grievances, poot!

      Plan B – tlhIngan Hol Klingon Encyclopedia to beam into for  mascotosis?

      • David Appell

        Were you paying attention in math class? No matter what a school’s mascot, there is no hope if those attending aren’t taught the difference between the set of integers and a race of people. 

        • Just doing the math

          More power to you. You were able
          to decipher guest’s new language.

    • David Appell

      How much does it cost to change a logo?

  • Just doing the math

    “Frankly I’d be honored if somebody named a sports team after me, but the “Larses”? I don’t think so.”

    That is one thing that we can agree on; a sports team named
    the “Larses” would be a poor choice for a name.

    • guest

      From the annals of Theodore-Skamania:  Byte ing “Larses Arses” along with a Sam Adams brewski – better than a bowl of chicken soup for the sole purpose of self gratification.

  • David Appell

    Frankly I’d be honored if somebody named a sports team after me….
    And if those somebodies had extinguished your ancestors?You’ll notice we don’t name many teams after the people who defeated us. There are no New York Uloojs, no San Francisco Charlies, no Boston Cooperheads. Why do you think that is? 

    • guest

      If I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant a David Appell tree.  ~ sMartin’ Luther

  • Crabman34

    Ah, the reliable creed of intemperate racists everywhere . . . I have plenty of [fill in the blank minority] friends and THEY all say I’m not a racist.  

    Congrats, Lars.  You spoke with three Indians and they all agreed with you (possibly to get you to shut up already?).  Somehow I doubt you went about polling the Indian community scientifically.

    My question remains, how on earth does this guy get a paycheck for this manure disguised as commentary?  

    • guest

      Yo ,Crabman34 – you’re a real stinker, despot, even when you’re out of odor and ardor here, monsewer.

      • Crabman34

        Huh?  Anonymous gibberish.  Relatively entertaining to think about the thought process that labels me an evil dictator for pointing out that Lars sounds like a racist in this post.

        Were you trying to spell monsieur at the end there?  

        It’s almost poetry, this guy.  Maybe we can start a blog “Poems from an illiterate anonymous blog commenter”

        • guest

          You apparently have been invaded by crabs that have infiltrated your DEPENDScent-ability to cloak your Limburger cheese finesse-agilities.   

  • There was never a single complaint filed with a local school district or the state board of education about a Native American mascot. The cost to one high school is going to be over $600,000. The Tribes of Record, for the majority of these schools, have come forward and testified that they want to work with the schools to ensure the mascots are respectful. 
    There is NO Native American Curriculum in Oregon schools – which is a request the Tribes have consistently made to the Oregon School Board. Finally, this is a badly worded and, in my opinion, unconstitutional ruling. If a school that is names Warrior has to change their mascots, what happens if: They change it to a Zulu Warrior – will they pass a ruling stating no African-American Mascots? They change it to an Aztec Warrior – will they pass a ruling stating no Hispanic Mascots? They change it to a Samurai Warrior – will they pass a ruling stating no Asian Mascots? They change it to a Kamikaze Warrior – will they pass a ruling stating no Pacific islander Mascots? They change it to a William Wallace Warrior – will they pass a ruling stating no White Mascots?

    The Tribes – which are Soverign Nations have come forward.  The Siletz has made the proposal that the OBE “recognize the authority of the tribes of Oregon to approve the use of Native American mascots and logos in their community schools.” and “Other schools in the state of Oregon who wish to establish or maintain a Native American logo and mascot be required to promote cultural studies that combat stereotypes, teach students the value of cultural symbols and portray the true history of the people of their local Tribal community, so that they promote pride in and respect for a Native American logo and mascot.”

    That would enable the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians do refuse to allow a school where they are the Tribe of Record to have a Native American mascot, but it would allow the Cow, Grande Ronde and Siletz – all who have worked with their schools and oppose the ban – to work with their schools. AND it would mandate more awareness and cultural learning in those schools.

    In my mind, that is a win for everyone.See more

    • David Appell

      No complaints were ever filed? On 5/22 the Oregonian wrote, “Back in 2006, Che Butler, a member of the Siletz Tribe and a former Taft High School student, brought the issue before the state board.”

      What school has said it would cost $600,000 to replace their mascot? And what are the details? It seems ridiculously high.

      • smartypants503

        Reader boards, buses, uniforms for all sports, websites, merchandise, signs on buildings, stadiums, possibly the sports field itself as some schools have artificial turf, replacing or removing plaques and statues.  I’m sure there is more that I’m missing. 

        Che Butler is one member of one tribe.  No tribe or tribe elder has ever filed a former complaint.  Most tribes are speaking out against the decision.

        • David Appell

          Again, what school has said those changes will cost $600,000?

          And why should showing respect for a race and civilization depend on its cost?Tribes that are speaking out on this issue are mostly complaining that they have not been given opportunities to educate students about native American culture in order to combat stereotypes (the exact kind of stereotypes these mascots perpetuate).

          Several native American organizations across the country has spoken out about this issue, such as the National Congress of American Indians.