BOUNTIFUL, Utah — The Bountiful High School principal has determined that the school will replace its longstanding Braves mascot. However, educators aren’t saying exactly when a new mascot will be chosen.
Bountiful High School Principal Aaron Hogge says the school will replace the Braves mascot. District officials say they don’t have a timeline for when the new mascot will be chosen
— Paul Nelson (@KSLPaul) November 30, 2020
Students at Bountiful High School have been known as “The Braves” since the school was founded in 1951, back when it a school for just 9th and 10th graders. Principal Aaron Hogge says that mascot has been a strong symbol of the school ever since.
“We believe leaders and students in the past have had the best of intentions to create unity, respect, honor courage and bravery when they used the Braves mascot,” Hogge said in a video posted on YouTube.
However, he says he has studied the impact that the mascot has had on the community and on indigenous people.
He said, “At times, depictions of Native Americans have crossed the lines of cultural respect.”
Hogge says the school will start the process of looking for a new culturally sensitive mascot that still portrays the image of strength and bravery. However, that process won’t happen immediately.
“The class of 2021 will graduate as ‘Braves,’” Hogge said.
This decision comes after months of discussion with people on both sides of the debate. Davis School District Spokesman Chris Williams says they invited community members, students and representatives of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation to weigh in, and not everyone agreed on what should happen. Williams says some people wanted to get rid of the name, and others wanted to keep it.
“We held two evening listening sessions in the high school auditorium where we had people from both sides weigh in. It was a really good process. I think it was very educational,” Williams says.
This isn’t the first time Principal Hogge has fought to remove imagery of Native Americans from the campus. The school’s logo used to be an image of a Native American man.
Williams says, “They moved to a block B as their logo. So, that has been some progress that he has made since he has been in the principal’s chair.”
Before making the decision, administrators met with representatives of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, as well as students and faculty.
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) November 30, 2020
Before that, in the United States and elsewhere, people were protesting against racial inequality. The subject was, again, brought to the surface of public consciousness after George Floyd was killed by police during an arrest in Minneapolis.
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From the discussion of racial equity came the question of the appropriateness of using what some consider racial or ethnic stereotypes as a way to promote athletics.
The issue again came to the forefront with the decision of Washington’s NFL team to change its mascot from the Redskins. The team still awaits its permanent name.
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