Editorial: Fulfilling a promise to Oregon's schools, Native Americans

2014-06-30T09:15:00Z 2014-12-15T14:26:51Z Editorial: Fulfilling a promise to Oregon's schools, Native AmericansCorvallis Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times
June 30, 2014 9:15 am  • 

Scio Rep. Sherrie Sprenger recently started the long process of fulfilling a promise she made to Oregon schools, its Native American tribes and Gov. John Kitzhaber.

Sprenger recently paid a visit to the Lebanon School Board to brief trustees about a law she helped pass this session. The bill overhauled state policy regarding the use of Native American mascots by school districts.

As part of the negotiations over the bill, Sprenger offered to visit every school district affected by the law. Her visit to Lebanon started the process.

Sprenger’s path to last week’s Lebanon School Board meeting started in 2012, when the state Board of Education passed a sweeping ban forbidding public schools from using Native American mascots. Schools that ignored the ban ran the risk of losing state funding. (In the mid-valley, Lebanon High School and Philomath High School both still use the “Warriors” nickname and feature some Native American imagery.)

Sprenger thought the ban overreached, and we agreed. She started pushing for a compromise measure, in which districts could continue to use a Native American mascot if they entered into agreements to do so with one of Oregon’s federally recognized Native American tribes.

As the representative explained last week to Lebanon’s school trustees, the bill that finally passed the Legislature last session kicks the issue back to the state Board of Education, which is now charged with establishing the specific rules by which school districts can use Native American mascots.

The board has yet to develop those rules, but it’s a good bet that the process will force school districts to build relationships with their local tribes. That’s been part of Sprenger’s idea from the start. In fact, she encouraged trustees not to wait for the rules, but to start now to reach out to local tribes.

In the case of Lebanon, that would be the Calapooia tribe. The principal at Lebanon High School, Brad Shreve, said he’s started the process of connecting with the tribe.

Sprenger has said her original goal in all of this was to foster wide-ranging and honest discussions between tribes and school districts — the kind of free-wheeling discussion that can allow students some real-world insights.

Let’s hope that turns out to the result of the conversations between the Lebanon School District and the Calapooia tribe.

And let’s hope that Sprenger’s remaining journeys — the result of a promise she seems serious about keeping — result in similar discussions throughout Oregon.

Copyright 2015 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(15) Comments

  1. Losing Ground
    Report Abuse
    Losing Ground - July 04, 2014 2:01 pm
    Really now, the GT program would not accept the post with the two examples properly spelled. Looks like the GT is way ahead of you folks with your bloomers in a knot.
  2. Losing Ground
    Report Abuse
    Losing Ground - July 04, 2014 1:59 pm
    Haven't you folks anything better to do than wring your hands and weep dramatically over a perceived slight? In truth, the only folks that should be raising a ruckus if one is needed, would be the members of our various tribes, not thin-skinned do-good meddlers with no stake in the fight.

    Actually, you should start taking action over a couple other heinous verbal slights to various sections of humanity. How about starting with "hon key-tonk'" in the music field and 'sp-ic and span' in the vernacular of cleaning and a cleaning product. One can find 'slights', unintended ones at that, if you look hard enough, have a big chip on your shoulder, and nothing better to do.

    Summation:
    Get a life!
  3. Azatlani
    Report Abuse
    Azatlani - July 02, 2014 1:13 pm
    Rep Sprenger and the G-T should show that their actions revolving around the pejorative use of Native American imagery is not hate speech, nor condoning of hate speech and bigotry.

    So far, neither has given any sign conferring confidence that they stand against anti-Native American hate speech.

    Maybe the legal department needs to consider what the editors do. As a citizen, I am expecting more from Rep. Sprenger than I have seen.
  4. Azatlani
    Report Abuse
    Azatlani - July 02, 2014 9:38 am
    @BooHiss; wow, you got in 9 words AND a number.

    Thanks for breaking the streak....

    Which white skin gene pool do you swim in? (Name your europeon tribe)
  5. BooHiss
    Report Abuse
    BooHiss - June 30, 2014 9:49 pm
    Did you actually just write 10 posts in a row?
  6. Azatlani
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    Azatlani - June 30, 2014 2:47 pm
    ATTENTION: CORRECTION: REPEAT

    THE FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED TRIBES NEAREST LEBANON, OREGON ARE; THE CONFEDERATED TRIBES OF THE GRAND RONDE, THE CONFEDERATED TRIBES OF SILETZ INDIANS,, AND CONFEDERATED TRIBES OF WARM SPRINGS.

    ANY ERRONEOUS REFERENCES TO "CALAPOOIA TRIBE" ARE STRICTLY DUE TO THE MISUNDERSTANDING OF THE EDITOR AND THE EDITORIAL OVERSIGHT AND ARE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CORVALLIS GAZETTE-TIMES AND ITS PUBLISHER, LEE ENTERPRISES.
  7. Azatlani
    Report Abuse
    Azatlani - June 30, 2014 2:44 pm
    I can see how the G-T editors know as much about Oregon natives as Montanan children are allowed, that much is clear. Yet why does Sprenger, who purports to represent her district here in Oregon seem so insensitive, unaware or whatever it is that keeps her out of touch on this sensitive issue?
  8. Azatlani
    Report Abuse
    Azatlani - June 30, 2014 2:20 pm
    What are the real world insights students are being given according to Sprenger and the G-T's plan for this rule?

    Where and when are these honest and wide-ranging discussions being held?

    Is this yet another example of secret government meetings and decisions being held and made without due public process?
  9. Azatlani
    Report Abuse
    Azatlani - June 30, 2014 2:15 pm
    Schools that defy the ban are STILL under risk of losing state funding. This is a serious issue, one that the G-T and school boards should take seriously as well.
  10. Azatlani
    Report Abuse
    Azatlani - June 30, 2014 11:04 am
    errata; ..."GRAND RONDE..."
  11. Azatlani
    Report Abuse
    Azatlani - June 30, 2014 10:52 am
    errata; "...to use their own tribal mascotry."
  12. Azatlani
    Report Abuse
    Azatlani - June 30, 2014 10:50 am
    errata: "...LEE ENTERPRISES."
  13. Azatlani
    Report Abuse
    Azatlani - June 30, 2014 10:37 am
    Philomath High School is closest to the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians.

    Its clear that the Siletz and Grand Ronde schools (and all reservation schools) should retain their right and ability to use their our tribal mascotry. Clearly that has been the intent of Board of Education's original guidelines which are iterated in Sprenger's legislation.

    It is my great doubt that the "local tribes" will approve the current mascots and imagery employed by Lebanon and Philomath High Schools. The tribal approvals are still not cover for the racist imagery that anyone anywhere in the world would likely see as such.

    Why do the editors remain so blind?
  14. Azatlani
    Report Abuse
    Azatlani - June 30, 2014 10:22 am
    The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde include the northern families of the Calapooia People, rounded up as part of the land grab that seized the Willamette Valley from its long standing traditional owners.

    The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde support the Spirit Mountain Foundation, consistently Oregon's MOST GENEROUS CHARITY, exceeding all other churches, foundations and institutions.

    When is the G-T staff going to send someone to the "tribe" to find out what they actually believe?

    Seems Rep. Sprenger is too shy to go there first too. Wonder why?

    The Corporation never answers, and yet they DO take it personally it seems. Peculiar....
  15. Azatlani
    Report Abuse
    Azatlani - June 30, 2014 10:00 am
    ATTENTION: CORRECTION

    THE FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED TRIBES NEAREST LEBANON, OREGON ARE; THE CONFEDERATED TRIBES OF THE GRANDE RONDE, THE CONFEDERATED TRIBES OF SILETZ INDIANS,, AND CONFEDERATED TRIBES OF WARM SPRINGS.

    ANY ERRONEOUS REFERENCES TO "CALAPOOIA TRIBE" ARE STRICTLY DUE TO THE MISUNDERSTANDING OF THE EDITOR AND THE EDITORIAL OVERSIGHT AND ARE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CORVALLIS GAZETTE-TIMES AND ITS PUBLISHER, LEE ENTERPISES.
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