Despite Governor John Kitzhaber’s Feb. 16 announcement that he will approve legislation allowing some school districts to retain their Native American-inspired mascots, Superintendent Candy Armstrong of North Wasco County School District said The Dalles Eagle Indians will not be among those districts.
The bill cleared the Oregon House Wednesday and is headed to the governor’s desk.
“The legislature that was passed is really going to be beneficial for those districts who are working with one specific tribe whom they will then be required to form an agreement with in order to retain their mascot,” Armstrong said. “For our district, on the other hand, it’s much more complicated.”
The complex process that surrounds the forming of such an agreement when considering the multiple tribes that exist within the area, Armstrong said, would just be “too much” for the district to handle at this juncture.
“We’re far enough along in the transfer process that we’ve decided to just maintain course,” she said. “We need to move forward, so that’s what we’re going to do.”
Armstrong confirmed that some of the costs associated with the mascot transfer process will be assisted by funds generated by an agreement between the city, county and Google.
“As a result of the agreement, we have about $240,000 per year coming our way,” she said, “and the language of the agreement is such that it will allow us to put a portion of those funds toward covering the cost of some of the big items we’ll need to take care of, like re-painting the gymnasium, redoing our letterhead and everything else that features the mascot in a pretty prominent place.”
Due to the Mascot Committee’s decision to retain the high school’s historic color scheme of crimson and gold, Armstrong said sports uniforms will continue to be “cycled out” as per usual, with the potential future addition of a mascot logo once one has officially been decided.
According to the online popularity poll posted on The Chronicle website at the start of the year, Riverhawks is the leading mascot by a wide margin, accounting for 115 votes, or about 68 percent of the total 169 votes logged thus far. Second in line is Sasquatch with 27 votes, then Rapids with 14, Rattlers with 8 and Megawatts bringing up the rear with 5. However, since the poll was posted, the mascot committee has decided to exchange the megawatts mascot for “The Current.”
In regards to the committee’s progress in other areas, Armstrong said students are busy preparing mascot presentations for the upcoming pep assemblies that are expected to take place at the high school, middle school and potentially even elementary schools later this spring.
Both the presentations and assemblies, she said, are still in the planning stages and, therefore, no official dates have been set.
For more information about the present mascot situation, log on to the committee’s official page on the district website at http://www.nwasco.k12.or.us/Page/627. If you wish to cast your vote in the mascot popularity poll, visit www.thedalleschronicle.com.