ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) — A Native American-themed mascot will be kept at a high school in southwest Oregon.
Roseburg High School school board members had to unanimously approve a motion to eliminate the “Roseburg Indians” and the vote fell one short last week, KLCC reported. Director Charles Lee was the dissenting vote.
Amanda Mendoza is a member of Roseburg High’s Class of 2001, and is of Muskogee Creek, Choctaw, and Cherokee heritage. She had circulated a petition to have the “Indians” removed, as major sports franchises in Washington D.C. and Cleveland have done with their Native American team names.
Mendoza said she was disappointed with the meeting’s outcome and that she and other activists were looking at next steps.
“It’s a system that continues to fail students and families of color, or who identify outside the white dominant culture,” she said. “I know that the mascot will change eventually…some day.”
Mendoza said research shows Indian-themed mascots harm the well-being of Native American students.
Roseburg High and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians have had an agreement to use the mascot since 2017, as allowed under Oregon state law. Backers say the mascot honors Native Americans, and is a long-standing tradition at the school.