At request of American Indians, Idaho schools eye mascot name change
Lewiston, Idaho • Two northern Idaho school districts with American Indian mascots have received letters from the Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee asking the names be changed.
The Lewiston Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1d3IgXs) that the Lewiston School District and Nezperce School District are responding to the recent letters with plans to look at possible changes.
Lewiston School District officials say they plan to meet Monday to review the history of the Sacajawea Junior High Braves mascot.
Nezperce School District officials are conducting a public survey about the Nezperce High School Indians mascot. Officials are asking if the public would support a change and, if so, what mascot they would suggest.
At the Lewiston School Board meeting Monday, Lewiston School District Superintendent Bob Donaldson said the board will review minutes from three 1977 board meetings concerning the mascot name at that time — Savages.
That year, the board initially voted to keep the name but change the image accompanying it. At a later meeting, the board changed course and voted to change the name. Sacajawea students then voted on three options — Trailblazers, Braves or Warriors — and selected Braves.
Alaina Capoeman, who spoke during the public comment portion of a board meeting on Jan. 13, also asked the board to change the mascot name from Braves, saying it reinforced harmful stereotypes.
At the Nezperce School District, Superintendent Doug Flaming said the district doesn’t want to hurt the good relationship it has with the tribe.
"We’re still in the discussion stage," Flaming said. "I’m meeting with our student council and we’ll be talking with our students."
The survey the district is running is on its website, which also includes space for comments.
"We’ll be collecting that information, and once we have that information we’ll be sharing it with our board," Flaming said.
He also said he hopes representatives from the tribe can talk to the board.
Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com