Yakama Nation Approves School District’s Use of Warrior Image

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) – Yakama Nation officials said this week they will allow a rural school district in central Washington to continue using the image of Wahluke Warrior while a plan for respectful use is developed .

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports that the Wahluke School District in Mattawa has until January 2023 to develop a memorandum of understanding with the Yakama Nation to ensure that the use of the image remains respectful, according to a press release. of the Yakama Nation.

“The Yakama Nation Tribal Council is pleased to support the Wahluke School District and our Wanapum parents to continue the positive relationship developed by honoring the image of the warrior who honors the earth, water and the inhabitants of the earth,” Yakama Tribal Council Chairman Delano Saluskin said.

State law passed in April prohibited the use of Native American names, symbols, or images as school mascots, logos, or team names, unless a school located on or near Native lands. does not consult and receive permission from the tribe.

The Wahluke warrior represents the strong relationship between the district and the Wanapum Indians of Priest Rapids, Yakima Nation leaders said. The Wanapum are part of the confederate tribes and bands of the Yakama nation.

For the past six months, a group of employees from the Wahluke School District have worked with the Wanapum to discuss the future of the Wahluke Warrior, according to a press release from the school district.

In November, the Wanapum met with the Yakama Nation Tribal Council to share the district’s proposal and before the school district presented it to the Yakama Nation Tribal Council and the Yakama Nation General Council.

The presentation showcased the relationship that began generations ago between the district and Wanapum, officials said. The presentation also highlighted how Native American culture and heritage are closely linked to the daily lives of the students.

The neighborhood proposed the idea of ​​a warrior image to the Wanapum in the 1980s. Frank Buck, a leader of Wanapum, guided the district through the development of the image, which is unrelated to the fighting or to violence, tribal officials said.

School district officials said, out of respect, the district would call the warrior the image of the warrior and no longer use the logo or mascot.

The Wahluke School District is “honored for this opportunity and is committed to educating our students, staff and community about our common historical facts, our partnership and ensuring that we continue to honor the image of Warrior”, the press release said.

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