Renaming Totem Falls Elementary not needed, tribe says
SNOHOMISH — Totem Falls Elementary may not need a rename after consulting with the Tulalip Tribes.
The Tulalip Tribal council prefers these are not changed, Snohomish School District officials say. Its Northwest Coast tribal character mascot, Rocky the Raven, is OK, too.
While the name may stay, certain elements at Totem Falls will be removed, its principal Craig Church said.
One is the totem pole, as it is not authentic. A Boy Scout troop built it, Church said. Another is art around the school that uses Alaska native styling; local tribes will instead be represented with new art.
Meanwhile, Cascade View Elementary is already retiring its mascot, the Thunderbird. Students generated 81 different new names which are being winnowed down to final selections.
Cascade View’s new mascot will be chosen by the school board at its May 11 meeting.
The school began retiring the Thunderbird months ago, principal Kert Lenseigne said.
A Thunderbird is a Native American mythological spirit; Cascade View’s graphic of its mascot is styled as Native American imagery.
The movement to make changes is tied to a state law restricting the use of Native American tribal iconography in schools.
It 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.
The district’s recent meeting with Tulalip leaders was not for seeking an exemption for Totem Falls but to “hear its preference,” Superintendent Kent Kultgen told the school board last week.
A reporter’s voicemail left with the Tulalip Tribes council office seeking to reach tribal council leaders for comment for this story was not returned.
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.
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 and mascot of Totem Falls Elementary is being discussed between the Tulalip Tribes and the Snohomish School District.
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