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School district successfully argues that warrior is Hawaiian, not American Indian
by: Ray Pitz, Aloha High School has a large picture of its mascot on the side of the building. The Beaverton School District avoided a problem with the mascot by telling state education officials that it was a Hawaiian warrior, not American Indian.

The mighty Aloha High School Warriors mascot, the fierce symbol that has overseen the western part of the school district for almost four decades, appears to be safe.

At least for now.

Many Oregon mascots depicting American Indians, with such names as the Warriors, the Indians, the Chieftains and the Braves, could be nixed based on the recommendations of an Oregon Department of Education advisory panel.

Aloha's mighty Warrior is in the clear.

That's because (as most already know), the Warrior mascot is Hawaiian, not American Indian.

The state education panel asked that schools with Native American mascots choose new symbols by the beginning of school in 2009.

In August, Beaverton School District Superintendent Jerry Colonna suggested that Aloha High School students should be part of a committee to study the appropriateness of the Warriors mascot.

But even the suggestion of a possible change drew extensive chatter on the Beaverton Valley Times Web site with 17 comments posted, all rallying against a change.

They included (misspellings and wrong words nonetheless) comments such as: 'PC gone to far, leave it alone and let the Aloha Warriors continue to be the Aloha Warriors,' and 'The Aloha Warrior mascot has stood in good stead for many, many years and has never before been misconstrued to the ridiculous level of political correctness that you are suggesting….'

The school district, too, questioned whether Aloha should be on the education department's list, which at the moment includes 15 schools spread throughout the state.

'We said, 'This is not a Native American symbol, it's a Hawaiian warrior,' ' said Maureen Wheeler, a spokeswoman for the district. 'We gave them a little more information and they took it off the list.'

On Tuesday, superintendents from schools who have Native American mascots were invited to a meeting in Salem to make recommendations about what state Superintendent Susan Castillo's next step should be.

No deadline has been announced on when she'll make a final decision.

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