BANKS, Ore. (AP) — Officials with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and the Banks School District are working to sign an agreement to keep the Braves logo and mascot in schools.
Banks High School will be allowed to continue using the Braves name, but will adopt a tribe-designed mascot, remove any of the old logos and incorporate a Grand Ronde-crafted Native American history curriculum into social studies classes, according to The Oregonian.
Banks is about 60 miles from the Grand Ronde headquarters. The high school has been known as the Braves for 75 years
The state Department of Education published rules in January allowing the 14 high schools in Oregon that have Native American mascots to secure permission from one of Oregon’s nine tribes in order to keep the names. Districts must also set a public hearing for its proposed agreement with the tribe, which Banks officials discussed on Monday.
Marcola, Philomath and Roseburg have also sent information to the state indicating they are working with a tribe.
Jeff Leo, Banks School District superintendent, said after the public hearing the board will likely vote on the five-year agreement.
“I’m very appreciative (the tribe was) willing to work with us,” Leo said of the tribe. “This has been a controversial issue for quite some time now. I used to read about it. I never thought I’d be right in the middle of it.”
With or without permission to remain the Braves, this summer Banks will begin removing the Braves logo from the high school. It will be wiped from the gymnasium, the football stadium and each one of the school’s track hurdles. Team uniforms will also be replaced to read only “Banks.”
Leo said replacing all aspects of the previous Banks Braves imagery is expected to cost the district $100,000 over the next five years, by agreement with the tribe.
Opponents of tribal nicknames and mascots, however, predict the agreement between Banks and the Grand Ronde will lead to a lawsuit against the state Department of Education for allowing this workaround. Activist Sam Sachs said he is glad the school is considering a partnership with the tribe and including Native American history in the curriculum, but that including race-based mascots in the agreement wasn’t necessary.
“They can do whatever they want,” Sachs said. “But as far as we’re concerned, it’s all going to be temporary.”