Kalama, Toledo must change mascots as invoice heads to governor’s desk | Information


Toledo and Kalama are expected to need new mascots through 2022 after lawmakers take action against Native American cartoons and logos.

House Bill 1356 has passed the House and Senate and is now for the governor’s desk where it is expected to be incorporated into law.

After signing, public schools will no longer be allowed to use Native American names, symbols, or images as school mascots, logos, or team names until 2022, with a few exceptions. For example, the ban would not apply to public schools located in or partially on tribal reservations as long as their use is permitted.

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Toledo Superintendent Chris Rust said the district intends to “continue to honor the Cowlitz tribe and our history with the tribe, regardless of what our mascot is.”

The Columbia River Schools in Vancouver are expected to complete a new mascot for non-Native people this month.

Kalama school district officials did not return requests for comments on Monday.

Toledo Indians

The Toledo Indian mascot had used headdress images, the tomahawk chop, and a cartoon mascot costume. The district worked with the Cowlitz tribe to make changes.

The tribe asked students not to wear headdresses when playing games as they are not part of the local culture, and Toledo agreed. The school also agreed to phase out its stereotypical mascot costume and the three Chief Wahoo logos that adorned the baseball field at the request of Major League Baseball.

Rust previously said that because the school district doesn’t include the current Cowlitz tribal areas located in Ridgefield, the school’s mascot will have to change despite the fact that the Cowlitz tribe approves the school’s use of the current Dreamcatcher logo – a stylized T. draped to the side in a circle with feathers.

Rust said the district is working on setting focus group meeting dates to develop a new mascot and “mostly just helping the community for lack of a better time to mourn the loss of a mascot.”

“It will take a while for people to come to terms with this and talk about what we’re going to lose, but also what we’re going to keep,” said Rust.

Toledo Letterman Jacket

A graduate of Toledo High School wears a letterman jacket as of July 2020.

For example, he said he was reminding people that the art will be preserved in the school that honors the Cowlitz tribe. The changes will affect signs and possibly some uniforms, though Rust said he didn’t know if uniforms still use older logos. The soccer team’s jerseys just say Toledo, Rust said so they don’t have to change.

The previously planned update to the high school gym floor will leave the room with no offensive or soon-to-be-banned logos, Rust said. While the focus groups work on the renaming, the district will remove the feathers from its current logo and leave it as a simple “T” in a circle until a final selection is made.

“We’ve been the Indians of the Toledo School District for 100 years, and it’s interesting that we’re going to change that as we celebrate our centenary,” said Rust. “We will imagine what we will be in the next 100 years.”

Kalama ‘corners

The discussion surrounding Kalama’s old mascot “Charlie Chinook” was in circulation long before the Native American Mascot Act was introduced that year.

Chinook elders

“Chinook Elders” Gerald Sauer (left), Roy Barnes (center) and George Gates attend a 2012 Kalama High School sporting event.

A caricature of a non-local tribe member, “Charlie Chinook,” had a hatchet in one hand and a scalp in the other. For the past 20 years, Kalama has been redesigning Charlie, particularly by removing the scalp and replacing it with a diploma. It has also done away with tomahawk chop style chants at games, and has largely ditched the Charlie Chinook logo on its uniforms.

The district also tended to use a stylized “KC” as the logo for the Kalama Chinooks. The district formed an official committee in September to investigate further changing the mascot under the same Chinooks name or creating a new mascot and name.

In March, the district conducted a survey asking whether the Mascot Committee should continue to plan a mascot to complement the Chinook name even if it has no connection to the tribe, like a salmon, or whether the committee should have a new mascot and should develop a new name that represents Kalama’s identity.

The majority of the community and student body were in favor of remaining the Chinooks, even if that means the mascot cannot be associated with the Chinook tribe, which is not recognized by the federal government.

District spokesman Nick Shanmac previously said the Chinook tribe have expressed support for the district to keep the name as long as the mascot represents them well.

Columbia River chiefs

Another local school that started testing its mascot before the law was passed is completing its search well before the 2022 deadline.

After the Vancouver Public Schools Board of Directors signed the four mascot proposals last week to become the new Columbia River High School mascot, students will vote on their favorite next month.

After two rounds of voting, the winner will be announced on April 19, and the high school teams will become either the Captains, the Rapids, the Purple Tide, or just Columbia River, according to Clark County Today.

In September, the school board voted to withdraw the chief’s name and mascot and formed a transition committee to find a new mascot.