RHS gets final approval on mascot

{child_byline}DAN BAIN

The News-Review

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“Welcome to Roseburg High School, the home of the Indians.”

That’s the message you hear when you call RHS, and it will remain the home of the Indians after the Oregon State Board of Education approved an agreement Monday, between the Roseburg School District and the Cow Creek Tribe. The agreement allows the high school to retain the Indian mascot with some conditions.

Superintendent Gerry Washburn said this morning the school will work with the tribe to meet the conditions of the agreement.

The conditions include having a member of the tribe on the school district’s curriculum and instruction committee as an advisory member. The district will adopt a native American curriculum, which Washburn said was a much needed update, and it will be aligned with the state standards.

“What it means is we will continue to formally be the Indians and that will be subject to review every three years to make sure there aren’t any changes and that there is compliance with the agreement,” Washburn said.

Washburn said the tribe from the start has never really wanted anything other than for the school to have the mascot.

Washburn said the district worked years ago to remove all the caricatures and other things that needed to be done. This agreement, he said, was more about taking the time to formalize some of the partnerships they’ve formed with the tribe and to make sure they were complying with the law.

“We’re appreciative that the board approved the agreement, and for the work that Sen. Jeff Kruse did to put legislation in place that made it possible,” Washburn said.

The school had been preparing just in case the board didn’t approve the agreement, but it would have still been very costly if they’d had to remove all of the logos.

“It would have been a tad expensive to cut Indians off the turf field, and replace marquis, and uniforms, and things like that,” he said.

They had already started moving toward purchasing uniforms that just said Roseburg, but they still would have had a lot of them that would have needed to be replaced. They would have had to get rid of many of the items in their spirit store as well.

Athletic Director Russ Bolin was just happy to put the long process behind him.

“I think it’s fantastic for our community to finally put this issue to rest,” Bolin said. “I just can’t tell you how great the tribe has been in working through this with us, they were great to work with, and I’m glad it’s finally done and over with.”

Washburn said it enables the school to keep the name, and continues a positive partnership with the tribe.

“We can start worrying about other things, like how we’re going to meet the needs of kids in poverty, and those things,” Washburn said.

Efforts were unsuccessful to reach a representative of the Cow Creek Tribal Office this morning.

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Reporter Dan Bain can be reached at 541-957-4221 or e-mail at dbain@nrtoday.com.

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Dan Bain is the health reporter for The News-Review. He previously worked at KPIC and 541 Radio.

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