Tribal Government & News
Tribal Council OKs Banks mascot use agreement
By Dean Rhodes
Smoke Signals editor
Tribal Council approved a five-year agreement with the Banks School District during its Wednesday, Aug. 3, meeting that will allow the Washington County district to keep its “Braves” athletic team name and adopt a more culturally appropriate mascot image.
Banks becomes the first school district in Oregon with a Native mascot to sign an agreement with one of the state’s nine federally recognized Tribes.
Earlier this year, the Oregon Board of Education adopted rules that allow school districts to retain Native American mascots if they enter into agreements with an Oregon Tribe regarding its use.
The Banks School Board approved the agreement, which will eventually phase out use of a Native American warrior’s profile from all school buildings and uniforms, on June 15. The agreement also was approved by the state Department of Education.
As part of the agreement, the Banks School District will not only adopt a more culturally appropriate mascot in collaboration with the Grand Ronde Tribe, but also will start teaching a Tribally created history curriculum and sponsor a Native Club for its students.
Banks Superintendent Jeff Leo said that approximately 3 percent of the district’s 1,100 students identify as Native American.
In other action, Tribal Council:
• Adopted amendments to the Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance that will allow Tribal Council to appoint between three and five individuals to the TERO Commission;
• Sent amendments to the Tribal Council Ordinance out for a first reading, which will allow Tribal members to comment. The amendments incorporate portions of Tribal Council’s operating procedures and better define Tribal Council member roles as liaisons to committees and special event boards, outline how individuals should address Tribal Council at meetings and clarify how Legislative Action Committee sheets may be signed by Tribal Council members, among other changes;
• Approved paying $2,736 in annual membership dues to the Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments;
• Approved the enrollment of one infant into the Tribe because he or she meets the membership provisions outlined in the Enrollment Ordinance and Tribal Constitution.
Also included in the Aug. 3 Tribal Council packet were authorizations to proceed that gave permission to form a Tribal Ham Radio Club, allow the Nutrition Program to operate an expresso trailer as a job training exercise for Tribal members and permit the Lands Department to apply for a real property tax exemption for the portion of the Portland office that is used by the Tribe for governmental services. Tribal Lands Manager Jan Reibach said the Tribe can back file for six years, saving about $8,000 a year.
Cultural Youth Activity Specialist Travis Stewart performed the cultural drumming and singing to open the meeting.
The meeting, in its entirety, can be viewed on the Tribal website, www.grandronde.org, by clicking on the News tab and then Video.