RHS drop the “Indian” mascot

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As an enrolled member of the Klamath Tribe and also someone of Creek and Cherokee heritage, I don’t feel honored by my former high school using “Indians” as their mascot. The majority of Natives agree that we don’t want our culture being used as a mascot.

Native psychologist Dr. Stephanie Fryberg, who is from the Tulalip Tribe, has studied the mascot issue and collected data which proves that Native mascots are harmful to Natives. Representations matter. 

Native mascots are a form of erasure for Indigenous people. If we don’t exist in a modern context and remain as mascots then it is easier for the majority culture to ignore our very existence. It’s the modern form of discrimination against Natives because it aids in our invisibility to society.

The Native led activist group, IllumiNative agrees, “As long as Native mascots continue to be allowed in Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, the National Football League, and K-12 schools, any action to end systemic racism will fall short. Racism is racism.” This diverse group of Natives from many tribes was founded by Crystal Echo Hawk who is from the Pawnee Tribe.

Although the local tribe, the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, made an agreement with the school to allow them to continue using the “Indian” mascot in 2017 I’d like for the issue to be reconsidered. There are over 500 federally recognized tribes and I don’t think the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians should have the final say in this important issue. Roseburg, you can do better. The time is now.