Tribal Government & News

Tribal Council OKs agreement with Scappoose schools regarding Native mascot use

02.14.2017 Dean Rhodes Tribal Council, Culture

By Bethany Bea

Smoke Signals Intern

Following in the footsteps of its Jan. 25 decision regarding the Banks School District’s mascot, the Grand Ronde Tribal Council approved a memorandum of agreement regarding the Scappoose School District’s mascot, the Indians.

The agreement, approved on Wednesday, Feb. 8, makes the Scappoose School District the second to reach an agreement with the Grand Ronde Tribe regarding its use of a Native mascot.

Although the Oregon Board of Education initially banned the use of Native mascots in public schools, an exception to the ban was approved in 2016 and school districts are now allowed to work with any of Oregon’s nine federally recognized Tribes toward keeping or modifying their mascots into something more culturally appropriate.

Scappoose School District will retain the use of the “Indians” mascot name and will work with the Tribe to modify its mascot image, currently a spear and feather, to ensure cultural appropriateness.

As part of the agreement, the school district will adopt the Tribe’s fourth- and eighth-grade history curriculums and sponsor a Native Club for sixth through 12 graders.

The most significant difference between the Banks agreement and that with Scappoose is that the latter is for eight years vs. five years with Banks.

In other Native mascot-related news, the Eugene Register-Guard reported on Saturday, Feb. 11, that the Marcola School District will do away with its longtime mascot, also an Indian. In a 52 percent to 48 percent vote by district residents, the School Board was urged to establish a new mascot.

Superintendent Bill Watkins said the district will be adopting the Grand Ronde Tribe’s fourth- and eighth-grade curriculums in its schools in the fall of 2017.

In other action, Tribal Council:

  • Approved the sale of the Mushy Logging Unit to Round Valley. The harvest of 7.8 million board feet is estimated to bring in approximately $2.9 million to the Tribe after fees. The logging unit is named after Richard “Mushy” Ray, who walked on in April 2016;

  • Approved the East Gopher Valley Timber Harvest of approximately 1.41 million board feet, which is estimated to bring in almost $495,000 to the Tribe after fees;

  • Appointed Tribal Council member Denise Harvey as the Tribal delegate to the National Indian Gaming Association with a term ending January 2018.

  • Approved two applications to the Oregon Department of Transportation that would continue to fund the Tribe’s agreements with Cherriots, Yamhill Transit and Tillamook County Transportation District to ensure adequate public transportation is available to Tribal members;

  • Appointed five Tribal members to the Tribal Employment Rights Commission: Tribal Elders Wink Soderberg, Russell Wilkinson and Diana George and Tribal members Camille Mercier and Sarah Harvey. The appointments have staggered term limits ranging from March 2018 to March 2020;

  • Appointed Shayla Myrick-Meyer to the Culture Committee with a term ending March 2019;

  • And appointed Richard Van Atta to the Veterans Special Event Board with a term ending March 2019.

Lands Department Manager Jan Looking Wolf Reibach performed the cultural drumming and singing to open the meeting.

The meeting, in its entirety, can be viewed on the Tribal website,, by clicking on the News tab and then Video.