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Two Colorado schools retire their Native American mascots

September 8, 2020 GMT

LOVELAND, Colo. (AP) — Two Loveland schools are retiring their Native American mascots after years of community debate and a petition by high school students to remove images they consider racist and demeaning to the Native American community.

The Thompson School District Board of Education voted unanimously last week to retire the Loveland High School Indian mascot and the Bill Reed Middle School Warrior mascot. All references to the mascots will end by Aug. 31, 2021, according to the Loveland Reporter-Herald.

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The move comes amid a nationwide movement to change Native American symbols and names in sports.

A board resolution notes that the American Sociological Association, American Counseling Association and American Psychological Association have urged the retirement of Native American mascots because of the harm they cause to Native American students.

“We know the facts now, and we know that these mascots are indeed racist and indeed hurtful,” said board member Pam Howard. An online student-led petition had collected thousands of signatures for the Indian mascot’s removal.

The move met significant opposition. Ray Reeb, a 1958 Loveland High graduate and former city mayor, told the board that the school adopted the Indian in 1925 “to show bravery, loyalty, patriotism and dauntless pride.”

“We still feel this way,” he said.