Native American groups urge change for Utah school team

Sam Merrill (5) for Bountiful defends Jalen Moore (14) for Sky View at the 2013 4A high school basketball semifinal game.

BOUNTIFUL, Utah (AP) — A Native American group asked a Utah school district to stop using the name “Braves” for a high school team.

James Courage Singer of the Utah League of Native American Voters urged the Davis School District to stop using the name and mascot at Bountiful High School in Bountiful, KSTU-TV reported Tuesday.

A spokesman for the school district did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

Singer said he believes Native American mascots create a “dehumanizing effect on hundreds of Native nations that exist and the members and citizens of those nations.”

Singer was also involved in discussions that led to the Iron County School Board voting to change team names at Cedar High School in Cedar City from “Redmen” to “Reds” in 2018.

Ian Record of the National Congress of American Indians wrote to Davis School District administrators and Bountiful city officials expressing his group’s opposition to the use of names such as “Braves.”

The use of ‘Native American’ sports mascots, logos or symbols perpetuates stereotypes of American Indians that are very harmful,” Record wrote in an email Tuesday.

Republican state Rep. Rex Shipp backed a joint resolution in the Utah Legislature calling for a process to decide whether changes should be made to school names, symbols or images. The proposed measure stalled during the legislative session but sparked a protest at Utah’s Capitol Hill.

“I would hope that Bountiful would go through a very careful, effective process if they really want to consider that,” Shipp said.

Bountiful Mayor Randy Lewis apologized Tuesday for “overly-simplistic and hurtful” comments he made in a reply to a Bountiful High School alumna who emailed him about the school’s mascot.

Do you have evidence that the indigenous people are offended by Bountiful High,” he wrote. “This sounds a lot like sheep mentality that follows the (Black Lives Matter) movement.”

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  • John B July 10, 2020 at 6:52 am Reply

    Too much emphasis has been put on changing names of mascots because someone gets their feelings hurt. The American Indian ,of which I am registered as one, has an important history in our culture. These mascots , in a way , honor our history! Get over yourselves!! Embrace your culture! What’s going to happen is history will be erased and their won’t be anything to promote thought or otherwise. In the future , people will be asking questions and since their won’t be anything left to wonder or promote thought we will be left with ourselves. How interesting is that Mr. ship ?

  • Blayne July 10, 2020 at 10:27 am Reply

    I have never understood why certain groups are offended by a team wearing a name that honors that race/ethnicity/whatever. Why is it offensive?

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