Colorado school district to retire Indians school mascot
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A school district in Colorado has agreed to retire the Indians as the Cheyenne Mountain High School mascot despite efforts by some students and alumni to keep it.
The district board voted 4-1 on Monday to retire the mascot at the end of the current school year after over an hour of deliberations, KXRM-TV reported.
“We need to support all of our children at all times, and this is a way that we can do that,” board member Monica Peloso said. “Now that we know better, we need to do better.”
Some alumni have argued the mascot is not intended to be disrespectful and that it is part of the history of the school. However, Indigenous people at the meeting said removing the last Native American mascot in the community has been an effort for more than 30 years.
Mascots, such as the Indians, “contribute to dehumanizing and objectifying Indigenous people,” said Native advocate Monycka Snowbird. “We are still here, and we aren’t going anywhere, and we are a part of this community.”
Board member Randy Case, who cast the only dissenting vote, said it was one of the hardest decisions he has had to make and thought it was premature to make a change before getting further advice.
“We’ve intended this to be an honoring approach,” Case said. “To build honor and to show strength of the Indigenous people that we share the name Indian with cause there is 75 years of Indians that have gone through this district that are feeling disenfranchise in some cases by this conversation.”
District Superintendent Walt Cooper said conversations over a new mascot are likely to start in the coming months.
This story has been corrected by changing Wyoming references to Colorado in several places.