A Marysville Pilchuck High School football player sports a spear on his helmet during a game in 2019. Two Marysville schools must drop their Native American mascots by the end of the next school year. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

A Marysville Pilchuck High School football player sports a spear on his helmet during a game in 2019. Two Marysville schools must drop their Native American mascots by the end of the next school year. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

Native American mascots to be discontinued in Marysville

A new state law, which bans the use of Native American mascots by schools, takes effect July 25.

MARYSVILLE — Two Marysville schools must drop their Native American mascots by the end of the next school year, according to a district announcement made Tuesday.

Tulalip Tribes leadership requested the change in line with a new state law that bans the use of Native American cultural symbols as school mascots. House Bill 1356, signed into law earlier this year by Gov. Jay Inslee, allows tribes to veto mascots they deem “inappropriate” if they belong to schools with enrollment boundaries on tribal reservation or trust lands. The bill’s purpose is to reclaim the regalia and other cultural objects important to Native American heritage.

Marysville Pilchuck High School must say goodbye to its long-controversial mascot, the Tomahawks. Totem Middle School’s mascot, the Thunderbirds, will also be dropped.

Students, families, staff and community members will be included in the mascot selection processes, said district spokesperson Jodi Runyon, and a third party will be brought in to help make the change.

The two mascots must be phased out by Dec. 31. Both schools will keep their names, according to the district.

The district memo says that the Tulalip Tribes Board of Directors’ request seeks to eliminate “potentially racially derogatory or discriminatory school mascots, logos, or team names in public schools that are contradictory to the schools’ and school district’s mission of providing an equal education to all.”

State Rep. Debra Lekanoff, D-Bow, was the bill’s main sponsor. She was supported by co-sponsors including Reps. April Berg, D-Mill Creek; John Lovick, D-Mill Creek; and Lauren Davis, D-Shoreline. Lekanoff, who is the House’s only current Native American lawmaker, is an Alaskan native of Tlingit and Aleut heritage.

The new law is the first time the state has adopted a legal position on the issue of Native American mascots in public schools. It takes effect July 25.

In 1993, the Washington State Board of Education adopted a resolution calling on school districts to discontinue the use of certain mascots that could be considered insensitive to Native Americans.

The state board reaffirmed its stance in a 2012 resolution, citing an American Psychological Association position that links the use of Native American mascots to negative student mental health and self-esteem.

In 2012, Marysville Pilchuck and the Tulalip Tribes discussed doing away with the Tomahawks name in response to that resolution, but decided against making the change.

As of Tuesday, Marysville school leaders had yet to iron out details surrounding the upcoming change.

Ellen Dennis: 425-339-3486; edennis@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterellen

Talk to us

More in Local News

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
1 dead, 1 in hospital after 3-vehicle crash on Highway 9

A concrete pumping truck and two sedans crashed Monday afternoon, closing the highway near Bickford Avenue.

Moses Malachi Brewer appears in court for sentencing Friday, March 24, 2023, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Man sentenced to 18 years for 2019 shooting in Everett

Moses Brewer, 23, shot four people in an Everett apartment, which left one victim paralyzed on his right side.

Logo for news use, for stories regarding Washington state government — Olympia, the Legislature and state agencies. No caption necessary. 20220331
Health care spending continues to outpace inflation, driven by prices

Can state efforts curb 6.7% growth per year in overall health care spending?

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
A buffet of budgets, a bunch of whales and a request for your miles

It’s Day 78. Here’s what’s happening in the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature

Richard Rotter listens to witness testimony in his trial at the Snohomish County Courthouse in Everett, Washington on Monday, March 20, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
As prosecution rests, jury hears jail call after Everett cop killing

“Try to put a wild cat inside a cage? … See what happens,” said Richard Rotter, accused of killing officer Dan Rocha.

James Lewis
The month in public health: COVID hospitalizations near pandemic low

Meanwhile, the bad news: Opioid overdoses continue to increase in Snohomish County.

The new Arlington Everett Clinic on Monday, March 27, 2023 in Arlington, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
New Everett Clinic branches opening in north Snohomish County

A new specialty and surgical clinic opened Monday in Arlington, with another clinic coming soon in Marysville.

FILE - In this photo taken Oct. 2, 2018, semi-automatic rifles fill a wall at a gun shop in Lynnwood, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee is joining state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to propose limits to magazine capacity and a ban on the sale of assault weapons. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
WA Senate panel OKs assault weapon ban, a day after Nashville shooting

Democrats overrode Republican objections, pushing the prohibition on many semiautomatic weapons a step closer to becoming law.

A standard jet fuel, left, burns with extensive smoke output while a sustainable avation fuel, right, produces less smoke during a demonstration of the difference in fuel emissions on Tuesday, March 28, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Paine Field unveils plan for new, more eco-friendly jet fuel center

The research and development center is a joint effort by Snohomish County and Washington State University.

Most Read