North Central High School student helps create bill to remove Native American mascots

SPOKANE, Wash. — Local students say they are appalled and offended by some of the imagery that’s inside their school.

“It’s demeaning. It’s not an accurate depiction of my people and it’s hurtful,” said Ivy Pete, a junior at North Central High School.

It’s a hurtful reality indigenous people are facing every single day. While some people believe Native American mascots are representative of history, students like Pete say these depictions are anything but accurate.

“I do not look like the mannequin in the case, but that doesn’t make me any less indigenous. We’re all different tribes. There’s no one way an Indian looks,” said Pete.

It’s an issue that’s been echoing through the halls of North Central High School for generations. Pate felt called to keep the conversation going by helping to write a bill that would prohibit the use of Native American names or symbols as public school mascots.

She says this is just one part of a much bigger conversation.

“The question becomes how do we continue to educate our students and do it genuinely while not putting a burden on our indigenous students,” Pete said.

“I’m proud of the work and the positive narrative that she’s putting out there,” said Jenny Slagle, Director for the Spokane Public Schools Board.

Slagle is also part of the Native American community.

“I 100% support this bill,” said Slagle.

She’ll be meeting with the board on Wednesday to help get North Central High School moving in that direction before the bill is even passed.

“Some people mistakenly believe these mascots are harmless or even respectful but they actually represent a continued effort to dehumanize Native people,” Slagle said.