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Action taken to remove Cheyenne Mountain High School Indian mascot

Cheyenne Mountain High School, Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - A draft resolution regarding the removal of the Cheyenne Mountain High School Indian mascot is moving forward after thousands of students, alumni, and local citizens recently expressed their disapproval.

The draft resolution was released to KRDO after it was written up at a District Board of Education meeting Monday night.

The resolution calls for the retiring of the Indian mascot and team name at Cheyenne Mountain High School immediately upon its approval, citing several national Native American organizations against its use.

It says "the continued use of Native American mascots, symbols, images, logos, nicknames, and behaviors interferes with the educational experiences of members of our community."

The draft also says "the nickname, images, and logos are or will be removed, and school materials bearing the existing nickname and related imagery may not be acquired and must be phased out by August 1, 2021."

"Other Native American names, titles and other instances of Native American appropriation, including but not limited to Kiva, Smoke Signals, Pow Wow, Tribe, and Akichita, are or will be removed, and no school materials or events shall bear such Native American names, titles and other instances of appropriation by August 1, 2021."

If approved, the resolution would allow Superintendent Walt Cooper to appoint a committee composed of a district representative and a dozen students and community members to recommend a new mascot and team name to the Board of Education.

The draft resolution states that the committee "shall give due consideration to the initial team name, the Mountaineers."

Any citizens, board members, and school personnel would be allowed to submit names for consideration by the committee, which will present the top three names to the board.

The decision to move forward with the draft resolution comes after years of public debate, and a recent online petition to remove the Indian mascot which has gained more than 6,000 signatures. A petition to keep the mascot has around 2,000 signatures.

The Cheyenne Mountain School Board also listened to more than a dozen arguments to change the mascot at a meeting late last month.

The Board of Education is set to continue working on the resolution, and possibly vote on it, at its work session in October.

Colorado Springs / News

Julia Donovan

Julia is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Julia here.

Comments

26 Comments

  1. There is a middle school somewhere here in SoCo that has the same logo
    and calls their team “The Savages”.

  2. This is a really sad report. We have had four children graduate from CMHS, obtained college degrees, and went on the become excellent citizens in their communities. I don’t see how their mascot “interfered with their education”? Please explain this. Because of this Leftest PC crap, the only education being accomplished now is mirroring the Chinese Cultural Revolution when they erased their own culture. The Four Olds: No Old Customs, No Old Culture, No Old Habits, and No Old Ideas.

    1. Hey friend,
      I’m glad to hear that as far as you know, your four children we’re not personally negatively affected by the mascot. However, if you speak to Native or just other non-white students who attended CMHS or other schools who still have Indian mascots, you will hear something very different. When I’m told something is harming people in my community, even if it doesn’t affect me personally, I still want to try to address the problem.

      You’ll need to read the studies below for more detailed information, but to respond to your question, in general, mascots interfere with students’ education in a few ways. For Native students specifically, mascots cause lower self-esteem and lower community worth. As for the general student body, it creates an environment that makes other forms of racism more permissible and undermines the formation of intergroup relationships.

      Here are the links to a couple studies, (I’ve got more if you want them), regarding the affect on students from having an Indian mascot:
      https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01973530802375003

      https://najanewsroom.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/DavisDelanoGoneFryberg2020.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1p9gHYZAxKmGHSuYYlyG_l3X6e6Op1aZFK8THWTXbt00hzOblyOW7se10

      This is not some new “leftest PC” plot. Native activists have been making this request since the mid-60’s, it’s just that now people are finally listening. Will you finally hear them too?

  3. Lived here for 50 years. Do not remember CMHS using the Indians name in a disrespectful manner. The current students are against it because the teachers told them they should be.

    1. Hey friend, while you might see yourself and others as being very respectful to the name and the mascot, or perhaps even honoring the Cheyenne by using this mascot, many Native people do not see it that way. They see the mascot as a racist caricature that perpetuates harmful stereotypes. Many current and former students, as well as the Cheyenne have all come out against the mascot. While you might personally think it’s not disrespectful, the actual people the mascot is depicting say it is offensive.
      The push to remove the mascot was and continues to be an effort led by former and current students. I’m not aware of any current teacher being openly for or against it. Though, there was a former teacher who spoke out against the mascot, saying that it created a bad educational environment for students.

  4. When did the name “Indians” become offensive to native Americans? Cheyenne Mountain High is a great school with a long history of superior academics and sports. So lets remove Indians from their name and take any positive attention away from native Americans. That will show em!! In my opinion, this school has been an exemplatory example of what schools should be. High academics, great athletics, college bound students. Can someone, anyone explain to me why their school mascot/name is offensive? Full disclosure, I am not a Native American so I can speak to their opinion.

    1. Hey friend, this is actually not about using the term “Indians” to refer Native Americans. This is about how the use of Indian-mascots is itself racist. To answer your question with a quote from the ACAI, many people find the mascot offensive because “…rather than honoring Native peoples, these caricatures and stereotypes are harmful, perpetuate negative stereotypes of America’s first peoples, and contribute to a disregard for the personhood of Native peoples.” Let me know and I can connect you with some more reading on this issue if you are still unclear or just want to learn more.
      There are numerous studies (that I can happily send you), showing how Indian mascots are harmful not just to Indigenous students, but also to the wider student body. The National Congress of the American Indian, National Indian Education Association, US Commission on Civil Rights, American Psychological Association, American Sociological Association, American Counseling Association, NAACP, United Methodist Church, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association all oppose the use of Indian mascots. Many current and former students, as well as the Cheyenne have all come out against the mascot. I think we should listen.

  5. Real Indians do not care. My sister-in-law, R.I.P., with her Indian reservation rights, once told we that this was “No big deal” and she could care less about it.

    1. It’s true, some Natives are ok with Indian mascots, there are also many who are against it, especially those Natives who are active in their culture and community. Both the National Indian Education Association as well as the National Congress of the American Indian openly oppose Indian mascots. The local Cheyenne tribe (who are depicted by the mascot) recently expressed support of the students and for changing the mascot.
      Current and former students have expressed that the mascot creates a toxic environment for learning. I think we should listen to Native voices, current students, alum, the many Native and Educational institutions, as well as the many studies showing the harm it causes, and change the mascot, don’t you?

  6. This has nothing to do with American Indians. Changing the mascot just gives something for the uber rich white social justice warriors to post to Facebook and Instagram accounts. The Kim Kardashian’s of Colorado Springs.

    1. This has everything to do with Native Americans. Both the Northern and Southern Cheyenne tribes recently expressed their support for the students and their efforts to remove the mascot. Native activists have been fighting for the removal of racist mascots for over 50 years.

        1. No. I am not named Kim.
          Care to actually reply to the points I made or are you just going to avoid responding all together because you have been clearly proven wrong?

  7. I think it’s great that we throw the fine legacy of Indians on the bonfire of history. Now we can make up anything we want about them in the name of social justice.

    1. Hey there, Natives and non-native activists alike are trying to preserve the actual legacy of Indigenous people by getting rid of these stereotypical mascots which do little to foster education or support of the Cheyenne. As you seem like someone who is concerned about preserving history, you should understand why they would want to remove these misleading and racist caricatures.
      I don’t understand your final sentence: Who is making up what about who in the name of social justice?

      1. Why do you refer to some commenters as “friend” and others you do not? Do you understand how offensive the inclusion/exclusion can be to people? Referring to people you do not know as “friend” forces them to accept the greeting from someone they do not know, and someone they may not be comfortable being “friends” with. Others that are not greeted as “friend” may find it triggering to their life long struggle of being left out of social cliques and gatherings.

        It is very inconciderate and hurtful of you to selectively include and exclude without consideration for each persons feelings and life experiences.

        1. Woah!! Great point! You got me. Your made up offense to me addressing certain people with “friend” is EXACTLY the same as racist mascots harming students in public schools.

          It’s pretty clear that those who want to keep the offensive mascot don’t have any actual arguments and instead have to resort to childish comments like yours. Thanks for your contribution to this conversation, but the adults are talking now, so you should sit this one out.

          1. Total dismissal of other peoples feelings while you argue for your own. That is all we need to know about you.

            “racist mascots harming students”

            That is rich!

  8. Evey Hammond:
    Total inability to have a serious conversation or to use the internet for basic research. That is all we need to know about you.
    I see you are still fully unable to make an actual argument.
    Aside from numerous testimonials from students, here are 2 scientific studies (I have plenty more) clearly demonstrating that racist mascots harm students:
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01973530802375003
    https://najanewsroom.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/DavisDelanoGoneFryberg2020.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1p9gHYZAxKmGHSuYYlyG_l3X6e6Op1aZFK8THWTXbt00hzOblyOW7se10

    You can put your fingers in your ears and pretend that racist mascots are harmless, but these are the facts.

    1. Weak minded people who are easily offended, or insecure people just seeking control. How long before there is no longer an Octoberfest, Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick’s Day, Christmas, Valentines Day, or Labor Day? All because someone CHOOSES to be offended! I hear the Washington Football Team is changing their name yet again. Apparently people from Portland are offended that the team is not named after their city, and baseball fans are offended by the term “football”. What do you think people will choose to be offended by tomorrow?

      1. I can only show you the facts and help you understand the history. I unfortunately cannot create empathy in you for those in your community. What a sad, scared life you must lead, so full of irrational fear, believing that Valentine’s Day is going to be outlawed any day now. The mascot in question clearly harms students, you can bravely call the children names if you want, but those of us concerned about the students in our communities will continue to fight for them.
        I sincerely hope you are able to further educate yourself about these matters and can one day learn to empathize with those around you. Good bye.

        1. “believing that Valentine’s Day is going to be outlawed any day now”

          Apparently all it takes is a few leftist phd’s to do a study about people being emotionally harmed by the celebration of valentines day, and you will be regurgitating it as “fact”.

  9. I’ve spoken with a number of folks on the CMHS social media pages. It seems that at some point many years in the past, some effort was made to educate students about the tribes and their cultures. When I and my siblings attended, this wasn’t the case. In my own classes, I have only one memory of any Native Americans being brought up at all. This was when a teacher joked to the class that the Natives taken advantage of because they were stupid. Perhaps at one point, the school had reason to say they were using this mascot in good graces, but I don’t see that now.
    Many of those who I see pushing to continue use of the mascot claim they are “proud Indians”. What does this mean? What weight does this carry,coming from people who know nothing of the culture they have taken images from, from people who use this image for their own entertainment and pride, but do little to help or fairly represent the mascot they claim as part of their own culture?
    I also find it distasteful that this mascot is being used by a school in one of the wealthiest areas of the Springs, while so many of the people they claim to represent and respect live in poverty, and their use of the mascot benefits these people so little. To me, this is just yet another instance of the tribes being taken advantage of for the purposes of entertainment and personal gain. The school should be using their connections with the tribe to help educate and uplift, not to entertain and sell T-shirts.
    I see some people claiming that not using the mascot is further erasing Native history. Personally, I think having my culture reduced to a logo to help sports teams sell merchandise is a far worse than not using the mascot at all.

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