I was happy to hear that Oregon has banned the use of Native Americans as mascots. Native American mascots are an atrocious example of modern day colonialism and continuing cultural appropriation. These mascots encourage young white and other non-Native students to view Native people and cultures as a historical commodity as opposed to living and breathing humans who have experienced generations of trauma due to the forceful colonizing of their land. Native mascots are wildly dehumanizing, and it is past the time when they should have gone quietly into the night.
When I was a North Central High School student, the Indian mascot was explained away by administrators and those in power as honoring and respecting the Spokane Tribe. I bought into this argument then, but five years after graduating I feel a deep sense of shame for the Indian head on the back of my letterman’s jacket. As a white person, I have no right to that image.
I would love to see Washington follow Oregon’s example and ban Native mascots. In the meantime, Spokane Public Schools should take action and ban North Central and other schools from appropriating Native Americans as mascots. It is long overdue.