The 17 Democratic legislators who are sponsoring this bill might want to brush up on their Tri-City history.

Democratic House Rep Debra Lekanoff who represents the 40th legislative district (parts of San Juan, Whatcom and Skagit Counties), is the only Native American in the legislature.

Her proposal, House Bill 1356, would ban the use of Native American mascots, logos or other team names. 8 years ago, a similar bill was proposed but did not pass.

However, this bill, which had it's first hearing in the Education Committee last Friday Feb. 5, contains several clauses, one of which reads:

"Establishes exceptions to the prohibition if certain requirements met, including consultation with and authorization by, the applicable tribe or tribes."

It is a well known fact that prior to the opening of Kamiakin High School in Kennewick in the fall of 1970, the District worked with the Yakama Indian tribe to find an appropriate mascot to salute Chief Kamiakin.  Born in 1800, he died in 1877, and the school was named after him. He was an influential tribal leader and standout champion of his people.

We are trying to confirm with story, but numerous claims exist that descendents of Chief Kamiakin were present at the ribbon cutting-school opening of the school that year.

It is well documented over the years Kamiakin has never really come under any of the criticism or fire aimed at some institutions, namely the Washington Redskins (NFL) or other Washington state high schools. Florida State, the Seminoles, has also not seen much criticism.

That clause mentioned earlier highlights why Kamiakin has largely been 'left alone' when these kind of efforts are made.

It is also noted that this is the only major legislation submitted by Rep. Lekanoff that has gotten much attention, at least to the awareness of many legislative observers.

For more information on this bill, which contains a link to comment, click on the button below.

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