School board: We will fight to be the 'Indians'

School board: We will fight to be the 'Indians'

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- The Roseburg School District Board is continuing to fight for right to keep "the Indians" as the team name.

The State Board of Education voted in May to force all schools with a Native American mascot to change their moniker.

The Roseburg School board voted to authorize legal counsel to explore potential litigation challenging the ban.

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Superintendent Dr. Larry Parsons says there's two reasons they're continuing the fight.

First , Parsons believes that the choice should belong to the individual school districts, who he thinks should work with the local tribes to come to an agreement.

"This is really a continuation of the promise that we made to the public when this whole mascot issue began," Parsons told KPIC News. "We will pursue from two places any resolution to this, to overcome the ban. One place is legislatively, and we're working on that. And the second place is legally. We want to make sure that the State Board of Education has the legal authority to make such decisions."

Second, Parsons also argues that the ban focuses on mascots but adds that "the Indians" is simply a team name: there is no mascot, and the pictured representation is a feather. "Roseburg doesn't even have a mascot, we don't have a logo that's Native American. What we have is a team name: a team name the Indians. So, it's really frustrating for me."

Parsons also finds fault with the research the state board cited. "All of the research that they talked about, the reason that they reopened this, was because of some "new research" that showed that use of a mascot or a logo was harmful to kids' self esteem," Parsons said. "I have said to them, "show me where a team name only is harmful to self esteem." They couldn't show us any research that said that. If we're not part of that research then take us off the list."

Parsons says that either way, they want the issue to be resolved soon.

"We'd like to either get started on this or let go of it as soon as possible because it's time for us to move on if there's no case to be made," he said.

The school board also voted to hold off on a local option levy they were planning on putting on the November ballot until the May election.