Snohomish school name, mascot changes being discussed
SNOHOMISH — A state law restricting the use of Native American tribal iconography means Cascade View Elementary’s mascot, the Thunderbird, is being replaced soon, and the name of Totem Falls Elementary is being discussed.
The district has approached the Tulalip Tribes for a dialogue about Totem Falls Elementary’s name and its mascot, Rocky the Raven. Its mascot is a trickster raven as used in Pacific Northwest Native American mythology.
House Bill 1356, passed last year in the Legislature, disallows public schools from using Native American imagery negatively, and fully prohibits using native imagery for school mascots, logos or team names. The state law allows tribes to be consulted and give permission for an exception to the rule.
Cascade View students currently are submitting ideas for their school’s new mascot through April 1. After a committee winnows the choices, the school board and superintendent will select the Thunderbird’s replacement later this spring.
“As anticipated, the students are growing more and more excited about our new mascot as they see less and less of our Thunderbird on campus,” Cascade View’s principal Kert Lenseigne wrote in a weekly school newsletter.
The Thunderbird will be retired with an honorary celebration in coming weeks, the school says. A Thunderbird is a Native American mythological spirit; Cascade View’s graphic of its mascot uses Native American imagery.
The district is also currently revising its general building naming policy in line with state law. The policy reads that any existing facility that undergoes being renamed must be named for significant geography or geographic features. The adjustment to the policy reads that any Native American imagery or logos must have local tribal approval.
In Marysville, the Tulalip Tribes have given permission for Marysville-Pilchuck High School to continue calling its team the Tomahawks after a council group had a split vote this December about the matter. The school board has not made a final decision on using the Tomahawks team name and the district will do more research, Marysville Schools spokeswoman Jodi Runyon said March 25.
Statewide, multiple other schools have replaced their team names in response to the law, particularly those that called their teams the Thunderbirds, the Warriors, the Indians, the Chiefs and the Braves.
Totem Falls was built in 1991 in the southwest corner of the district near Willis Tucker Park. Cascade View was built in 1990 in the northeast area of town.
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