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Banks to keep 'Braves' name, replace logo

The Braves can stay, but the logo has to go.

After years of debate, the Oregon Board of Education ruled earlier this year that Oregon schools with Native American mascots could keep their names and logos as long as they could come to an agreement with their local tribe. That will likely allow Banks High School to keep its longtime mascot, The Braves, as the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde (CTGR) are on board to reach an agreement with the district.

The pictorial manifestation of the Braves will have to go, though, the CTGR says, because the current depiction looks more like a Native American from America’s east coast.

Banks School District will likely adopt a logo designed by the Grand Ronde Tribes and continue to use an image school groups already use on school merchandise — a capital B with two feathers.

The Banks Middle School mascot logo, the Warriors, will also be replaced by a new Tribes-designed logo.

The district will also incorporate the Grand Ronde Tribes’ history and culture curriculum into their social studies classes and form a Native American club.

The fourth-grade curriculum is ready to go and will be incorporated next school year, Banks School District Superintendent Jeff Leo said, but the CTGR is still working on the eighth-grade and high school curriculum.

Leo said he’d like the students to visit the CTGR reservation on a field trip and take advantage of the tribes’ offer to send staff from their cultural department to the schools.

The district will start replacing their current logo on school walls, gym, football stadium and jerseys with the new logo this summer, Leo said. It will likely cost about $100,000 over the next five years and the district will receive no financial help.

State guidelines require the district to hold a public hearing for their proposed agreement with the tribe. Leo said officials will likely set a date for that hearing at their school board meeting May 9.