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Oregon Senate Approves Lifting Ban On Native American Mascots

SALEM, Ore. - Some Oregon public schools may soon be allowed to keep their Native American mascots. The state Senate voted Wednesday in favor of overturning a ban on names like “Chiefs” and “Braves.” The Oregon Board of Education adopted the ban last year.

The legislation says that if a school reaches an agreement with a local tribe, the use of the Native American mascot and imagery is not an act discrimination.

Republican Senator Jeff Kruse argues that these symbols are ubiquitous and non-offensive.

“All army helicopters are named after Native American tribes. Apache, Blackhawk, and Kiowa are just three," Kruse says. "Additionally special forces unit patch is an arrow head. As are the merit badge symbols in the Boy Scouts. I mention this simply because they are symbols of honor and respect.”

But some members of Northwest tribes testified that all racially-themed mascots are offensive. The bill passed the Oregon Senate 24 to 4, and heads next to the state House.

On the Web:

2012 ban on use of Native American mascots - Oregon Board of Education