Epic failure from the leadership of the Salmon School Board on the mascotless Salmon High School, it's been ten years, contact them below.

Salmon High School Address: 401 South Warpath Salmon ID 83467 Phone: 208-756-2415 Principal-Dan Hull

Salmon School District #291 »

District Contacts District Contacts District Office Address: 907 Sharkey St.-Salmon ID 83467

District Office phone: 208-756-4271 District Office fax: 208-756-6695

District Office Staff- Superintendent-Tana Kellogg

Administrative Assistant/Clerk-Mary Foley

Business Manager-Cyndee Lafourcade

Posted 7-23-2012: Oregon bans Native American mascots in schools

SALEM, Ore. – Eight Oregon high schools will have to retire their Native American mascots after the Board of Education voted Thursday to prohibit them, giving the state some of the nation's toughest restrictions on Native American mascots, nicknames and logos.

More >>

Posted 7-23-2012: Forbes /Sports & Leisure

Oregon Bans Native American-Themed School Mascots, But Battle Goes On Elsewhere

Pretty soon, the Banks (Ore.) High School Braves can't avoid a letdown and rout the Molalla (Ore.) High School Indians. That's because in the state of Oregon, any Native American-themed mascot is banned as of 2017.

More >>

10/12/09 Still Playing The Name Game - D.C. 's football team fighting to keep its moniker  D.C.

By Gary Norris Gray - "One more note of interest if this school accepts federal monies from the United States of America then they cannot discriminate against any group or person, this is the law. If this school returns to the Savage Head and mascot they will be sued and lose because its federal law. If this school is seculiar or private they can use any mascot or logo they wish but that would be a very unpopular move. "

**Thanks for the support Gary, will keep you posted!

Recent News

11/06/09  Forum editorial: Quit stalling on UND Sioux logo  North Dakota

11/05/09  Thursday panel wants Chippewa nickname changed  Michigan

10/28/09  When the name game gets offensive  National

10/21/09  On the sidelines, the sad symbol of a sorry tradition   D.C.

10/17/09 Fulton begins process of selecting school mascot  New York

10/13/09 Schram: Renaming Redskins a cause we can all support  D.C./National

This page is dedicated to those whose wisdom, courage, leadership, and vision have provided a  meaningful step toward a better education system and society.

All of the following have either completely retired  their "Indian" symbols, mascots, and nicknames or retained a generic nickname >>>

Twenty-one Wisconsin School Districts have become models of respect for human dignity by changing their "Indian" logos >>

School going with Redhawks - CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. -- After more than 80 years, Southeast Missouri State University will no longer use Indians as a nickname.

Arkansas State chancellor forms committee to solicit ideas for new mascot

AP - JONESBORO, Ark. -- The chancellor at Arkansas State said Wednesday the school would retire its Indian mascot, targeted by an NCAA ban on mascots that are ethnically or racially hostile or abusive. (Has been changed to the ASU RED WOLVES)

Regardless of original intent, relative attractiveness, or degree of cherished attachment, an "Indian" logo and the school traditions that grow up around it present harmful stereotypes of living people and living cultures to students in the school environment. "Indian" logos do not honor Indian people; these logos are nothing more than outmoded, culturally demeaning symbols of oppression. >>>

Special Features

National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media

Mascots - Racism in Schools by State

The Last Dance of Chief Illiniwek

“Indian Mascots” promote racism and obscure history

Racism in Sports and the Media: Chief Illiniwek May Have Had Last Dance, But Redskins, Braves, Etc. Maintain Hostile Landscape

Indian Mascot & Logo Taskforce - Advocacy Tools ...twenty-one Wisconsin School Districts have become models of respect for human dignity by changing their "Indian" logos, mascots, nicknames, cheers...

ASA Statement = Statement of the American Sociological Association calling to discontinue American Indian Mascots, Logos, and Nicknames.

Fryberg Dissertation = Abstract of 5 empirical studies finding Indian stereotypes cause harm to Indian students, and a false boost for non-Indian students.

Fryberg et al 2008 = Abstract of 4 empirical studies finding Indian stereotypes cause harm to Indian students' self-esteem and sense of community, and narrow the conception of roles they may come to fill in the future.

Will the words "merciless Indian savages" ever be removed from the Declaration of Independence? >>>

The obligation the nation acknowledges toward wolf and salmon recovery efforts is dwarfed by the responsibility it faces in treating fairly the people who played such a crucial role in advancing the success of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.


Also read:

Sign the Guestbook

Kathy Morning Star, director of the American Indian Cultural Support, states:

“It is the responsibility of educators to set the example and teach the youth of today to respect other ethnic or minority peoples - NOT to exploit or disrespect them by using them as 'mascots' or stereotypical 'images' which perpetuates racism."

Michele LaRock, Chairperson, of the Wisconsin Indian Education Association affirmed the resolution and the efforts of the taskforce stating:

It’s wonderful that people are standing up for our children. Because that’s the bottom line of our sovereignty, protecting our most valuable resource - our children, our future.”


Still stands in Salmon, Idaho today 2012 (above).

Just opened in 2012, The Savage Grill, Salmon, Idaho (below).

Savage Grill

Sacajawea Shoshoni

It is not the intention of the Salmon School District to bring back the "Chiefs" head as a mascot for Salmon High School. We realize there are some in Salmon who would like to do this, but this idea is not coming from the District.

The District is actively working to find alternatives and an acceptable resolution.

Thank you.

Tana Kellogg - Superintendent Salmon School Dist #291

907 Sharkey Salmon, ID 83467

Sacajawea Shoshoni

Salmon schools will abandon Savages mascot
September 16, 1999 - Associated Press - SALMON, Idaho - The Salmon School Board has decided to change the Salmon Savages' Indian mascot after being told by attorneys that fighting a lawsuit being threatened by a national coalition would cost more than $100,000.

The National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media said it would file suit against the district if the Savages do not get rid of their Indian head logo. Indian mascots, especially those coupled with names such as Savage, are derogatory and offensive, coalition members said.

Last month the Illinois-based organization demanded a decision within 45 days and wanted the district to sign a memorandum of agreement saying they would get rid of both the logo and the name, and add Indian studies to the high school curriculum. The board voted not to sign the memorandum, and school board chairman Steve Lish said it would take longer to change the logo.

Local attorneys said fighting the name change in court could cost more than $100,000. In a district where teachers who do not scrimp on paper can find themselves without by the end of the year, a court battle is not an option, board members said. According "The evolution of the Savage mascot" as stated in the Recorder Herald, Salmon, Idaho, Nov. 5, a timeline for responding to the coalition's demands, in January 2000 students and the community would select a new mascot/logo and a name if they wish. This month and next, the district will begin informing students and community groups. That will be followed in November with presentations on possible mascots. The board will make and announce its decision in December, and by the 2000-2001 school year the new mascot would be in place.

"The evolution of the Savage mascot," racist mascots used by the Salmon Savage High School from 1934-1999, printed by the Recorder Herald, Salmon, Idaho, Nov. 5, 2009. (Right >>)

Sacajawea Shoshoni

Recorder Herald, Salmon, Idaho :: Opinion Pages

My two cents worth - Recorder Herald, Salmon, Idaho

Dear Editor:

I'd like to put in my own "two cents" on Ms. Ungaretti's column (below) in last week's The Recorder Herald.

She advocates the return of the portrait of a Native American as the "emblem" of the Salmon Savages,
and insists that the word "savage" has no negative connotations, merely meaning "not domesticated or under human control, untamed."

Ms. Ungaretti, if it's inconvenient for you to wrestle with a heavy old dictionary when you're right in the middle of a biased rant, just go to

Read carefully and you'll find that your definition of "untamed" refers to the use of the word when describing animals.

Since even you would be forced to admit, if you were cornered on it, that Native Americans are human beings, you'll see that the word means "uncivilized, fierce, brutal, cruel, unpolished, rude, boorish," etc., when describing people.

You probably have a thicker hide than I do, Ms. Ungaretti, but personally I feel a little insulted when foreigners use these terms to describe my people, the oft-misunderstood American race.

Then again, let's look a bit at our local history. Without the help of the noble Sacajawea and her people, the Agai Dika, our white heroes would have starved.

Without the leadership of the noble Tendoy the Lemhi people would have probably joined up with Chief Joseph to wipe out young salmon City.

When you whine "why do you think they picked on Salmon," Ms. Ungaretti, if you have any shame at all, rereflect on the friendship that was extended to the first whites here. I won't tell you how it was repaid. Read up on it.

Savages! If you feel that "the only problem is that the Salmon Savages has no logo, mascot," Ms. Ungaretti, I have the solution: keep the Savages logo, as its so very dear to you, but make the mascot historically accurate: a portrait of a leering, bearded white man holding up a bottle of whiskey in one hand and a lying treaty in the other.

Peter McNevin


Thanks for the idea Peter! Kel

Sacajawea Shoshoni

Two more cents worth - Recorder Herald, Salmon, Idaho

Dear Editor: Peter McNevin failed to mention another "splendid service" the Lemhi people contributed to Lemhi County when they "ran all the Mormons completely out of this country," only to have them sneak back, one by one, and then run the Lemhi people out!

So it goes! Thar' aint no justice! Salmon city has never been the same without the native Lemhi peoples! They are sorely missed by this 'ol timer! Pete "you hit the nail squarely on the head" by your description of a logo, mascot!

It's neat to hear a native's opinion of this matter!

David L. Strode - Salmon, Idaho

Sacajawea Shoshoni

"Savage" isn't a negative word?! By Rob Schmidt

My two cents worth--Recorder Herald, Salmon, Idaho

Dear Editor: I'd like to put in my own "two cents" on Ms. Ungaretti's column in last week's The Recorder Herald.

She advocates the return of the portrait of a Native American as the "emblem" of the Salmon Savages, and insists that the word "savage" has no negative connotations, merely meaning "not domesticated or under human control, untamed."

Ms. Ungaretti, if it's inconvenient for you to wrestle with a heavy old dictionary when you're right in the middle of a biased rant, just go to Read carefully and you'll find that your definition of "untamed" refers to the use of the word when describing animals. Since even you would be forced to admit, if you were cornered on it, that Native Americans are human beings, you'll see that the word means "uncivilized, fierce, brutal, cruel, unpolished, rude, boorish," etc., when describing people. You probably have a thicker hide than I do, Ms. Ungaretti, but personally I feel a little insulted when foreigners use these terms to describe my people, the oft-misunderstood American race.

Peter McNevin

The same page helpfully provides's definitions: :: [Definition of sav-age ] Show Spelled Pronunciation [sav-ij] Show IPA adjective, noun, verb, -aged, -ag-ing. Use savage in a Sentence –adjective 1. fierce, ferocious, or cruel; untamed: savage beasts. 2. uncivilized; barbarous: savage tribes. 3. enraged or furiously angry, as a person. 4. unpolished; rude: savage manners. 5. wild or rugged, as country or scenery: savage wilderness. 6. Archaic. uncultivated; growing wild. –noun 7. an uncivilized human being. 8. a fierce, brutal, or cruel person. 9. a rude, boorish person. 10. a member of a preliterate society. –verb (used with object) 11. to assault and maul by biting, rending, goring, etc.; tear at or mutilate: numerous sheep savaged by dogs. 12. to attack or criticize thoroughly or remorselessly; excoriate: a play savaged by the critics. Origin: 1250–1300; ME savage, sauvage (adj.) < MF sauvage, salvage < ML salvāticus, for L silvāticus, equiv. to silv(a) woods + -āticus adj. suffix Related forms: sav-age-ly, adverb sav-age-ness, noun Synonyms: 1. wild, feral, fell; bloodthirsty. See cruel. 2. wild. 3. infuriated. 5. rough, uncultivated. 9. churl, oaf. Antonyms: 1. mild. 2, 4. cultured. 5. cultivated.

Comment: Ungaretti is almost literally 100% wrong.

Every definition has negative connotations except maybe no. 5--and that's only because it refers to land, not people. Oops. The stupidity of people trying to justify their stupid stereotypes never ceases to amaze me.

Judging by another posting, the Salmon Savages have gone a decade without their Indian mascot.

Has the school lost its accreditation or crumbled into dust? Have the students dropped out, turned to drugs, or committed suicide? Has eliminating the mascot has caused any tangible harm whatsoever? For more on the subject, see Team Names and Mascots.

Below: Naturally, Salmon's mascot was a stereotypical Indian chief from outside the region.

Link to article posted Oct. 22, 2009 >>>

Sacajawea Shoshoni


Sacajawea Shoshoni

Posted: May 13, 2009
"How smooth must be the language of the whites, when they can make right look like wrong, and wrong look like right." Black Hawk
Savage Country: American Indian Sports Mascots Part One
Savage Country: American Indian Sports Mascots Part Two
Savage Country: American Indian Sports Mascots Part Three

A clip from the docum. "IN WHOSE HONOR?"
Posted: May 13, 2009
How Hollywood stereotyped the Native Americans
Savage Country IV: Oklahoma Senate Bill 765 Anti-Discriminatory Mascot Act 2009
Is it Honorable or Racist to Use Native American Sports Mascots - Rick Eckstein - Villanova University
Posted: January 30, 2009

(11-08-2009) Many thanks for the kind note, Kel.  I once had a student from Salmon but had no idea of the school's mascot history.  Let's hope the forces of good prevail for a change.

Rick Eckstein - Dept. of Sociology - Villanova University - Villanova, PA 19085

Sacajawea Shoshoni

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Sacajawea Shoshoni

"Savage Head"In Idaho, there is a pretty little town called Salmon. Like most towns, it is filled with some nice people. However it might have started though, these nice people selected a mascot for their school children that is a racist depiction of an Indian. I'm sure that is not what they started out to do, but it happened anyway. They have had this symbol and mascot for some years now, and have naturally become attached to it. They defend it by saying it was done to honor the Indian. The mascot is called the "Savage Indian". As an Indian, I would like to tell you what that term means to me.

It was a common practice not so long ago, to take the children away from the "Savage" Indian families because of course, "Savages" couldn't raise children in the proper way. The child would be sent to a boarding school, where the first thing done would be to give the child a "proper" name. Not a "savage" name like "Yellow Bird", but a proper name like "John" or "Mary". The next thing to happen was to cut the "savage's" hair to make him/her "look civilized". If the child were to utter their real name instead of the "proper" name, they would be severly beaten and told that only "savages" used names like that. If the child were to utter any word in their own language, they would be severly beaten and told that they were forbidden to use the "savage" language, and must speak only English.

No objects of a cultural nature were allowed, after all, they were learning to be civilized, not to be "savages". The child was stripped of everything that made him/her who they really were, including their culture, their family, their language, and their spirit. Is it any wonder Salmon Savages gatethat I don't feel proud to "honored" by this mascot? Is it any wonder that I feel it is a stereotypical and racist action against Indian people? Here is a photograph of what greets a visitor to Salmon, ID. Just up the street from this sign is a place called the "Savage Circle", where one can order a "Savage burger". The town sign. This is the Arch at the entrance to the High School football/track field. The National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media (NCRSM) urges the removal of the mascot and symbol. Below are links to documents which explain how this mascot and this symbol cause damage to school children and adults.

Please take the time to read them, and to send your feelings on this subject to the addresses provided. "We need to educate the educators." To teach the teachers that harming another with racist symbols, or reducing an entire race of people to mascots is wrong.

Sacajawea Shoshoni

Original Text of the letter:

National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media Illinois Chapter

July 13, 1999 Salmon School Board District 291 907 Sharkey Street Salmon, ID

RE: Salmon High School Dear Board Members:

On a recent trip to your beautiful town, my husband and I were appalled to se such beauty marred by the use of your high school's team name/logo. We are considering purchasing property in your area, but we cannot in good consience bring our 12 year old son who is Shoshone- Bannock to a community that embraces inaccurate, anachronistic, and damaging stereotypes of Native American people. Further, as a Coordinator of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media (NCRSM), I cannot ignore this blatant use of negative imagery. Our organizatio exists to fight the powerful influence of major media who choose to promulgate messages of oppression. The impetus which formed NCRSM was the clear case of media coupling imagery with widely held misconceptions of American Indians in the form of sports team identities resulting in racial, cultural, and spiritual stereotyping.

NCRSM strives to eliminate learned hatred and disrespect which your children experience every day in school because of your high school sports team designation. I would like to remind you of the definition of "Savage". Not domesicated or cultivated: wild. Not civilized, barbaric. Ferocious, fierce. A primitive or rude person. Abrutal person. The term savage does not describe Native people and your use of this term along with Native imagery is offensive, disparaging, and scandalous. In light of this, it should be an embarrassment that your high school maintains such a team name and logo. It is an insult to the Native American community and especially to Native children who live in your area and attend your schools.

P.O. Box 337, Urbana, IL 61803-0037 Office (217) 355-6757 or (217) 840-6584 FAX (217) 355-6757

Salmon School Board Hyly 13, 1999

Sometimes thoughtlessness or habit or what we may call "tradition" leaves us less than sensative to such matters, but this is not a trivial issue. Your use of the term "Savages" represents a human rights violation. Much of the inter-ethnic conflict in the world today results from the failure of some cultural groups to honor and respect the right of different, usually minority, groups to preserve and protect their distinctive cultural heritage and traditions.

Therefore, I would like to invite you to join us in a dialogue concerning discontinuing the use of Native American imagery, symbols, and othor allusions to Native people by your high school. However, If reasonable discussions have not progressed withing 45 days, we will then proceed with legal actions available to us. Please contact us soon so that we may begin constructive action to replace this negative imagery in your community. Respectfully submitted.

Cyd A, Crue Coordinator cc: County Commissioners 206 Courthouse Drive Salmon, ID Chamber of Commerce 200 Main Street Salmon, ID City Council City Hall 200 Main Street Salmon, ID

Sacajawea Shoshoni

CITY OF SALMON 208 MAIN STREET / SALMON, IDAHO 83457 / [208] 756 3214

July 15, 1999 Cyd Crue National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media P.O. Box 337 Urbana, Illinois 61803-0037

Dear Ms Crue; We have seen a copy of the letter you sent to the Salmon School Board concerning the High School team name/logo. It is probably just as well that you are no longer considering purchasing property in Lemhi County. We are a very open and accepting community and welcome everyone with frendliness. We have found however that bigoted prehudicial persons with preconcieved notions often are not comfortable in this community. The ones with the most problems are those that possess the vary same faults that they profess to be saving the world from. I imagine you wouldn't like it here. Those that do visit this area with a willingness to learn about the people, and attempt to restrain from prejudgement, find a community different from that which you believe you found.

We are quite aware of the history of the indians in our area, and are more attuned to their beliefs and customs than someone that may drive through town and make their judgements from say, a billboard. At this time the community is working with the Lemhi Band of Shoshone Indians toward construction of the Sacajawea (don't even think about criticizing the spelling of her name - her descendants claim claim this is the accurate spelling and we tend to believe those with direct information) Interpretive Center. As this is the birthplace of one of America's most important women, we feel a special affection for her and her people. Because of our history, we understand more than most the plight of the Nez Perce on their flight toward Canada. Chief Tendoy was an important part of the development of Salmon, and the Lemhi Shoshones have always been a part of the history of Lemhi County. Did you get any of this while you were in Salmon? FAX (208) 756-4840 Email: By the way, I have a question.

And I certainly mean no disrespect to anyone in your family or that you know, But while spending time with the members of the Te-Moak Shoshone, the Lemhi Shoshone, and the Bannock, I have always been taught that everyone is either a Shoshone or Bannock. As these are two distinct peoples, they do not consider themselves a cross between the two. If there is a marriage between two people of different groups, because of the importance of the wife's people to the union, the children are acknowledged by both groups to belong to the wife's band. Is this not so, and in fact there is no such description as being Shoshone-Bannock? It is unfortunate that you take such an adversarial attitude about changing people into what you believe they should be. This type of threatening style may work well for you in places not used to courtesy and respect, But we in Lemhi County are sensative about threats and demands. We really are more responsive to people that ask to work with us on a problem and treat us as adults.

I'm afraid your attitude is really not going to get you far around here. Oh, yes. I would like to remind you of the definition of "native" A person born in the place indicated; belonging to a locality or country by birth; being or associated with the place of one's birth To suggest that I am not a "Native American" is insulting to me and to purport to speak for the 95% of "Native Americans" that attend our school's lacks sensitivity and understanding I cannot speak for the School Board and have no idea what their response will be concerning your demand, But I will be sorely disappointed if they choose to make changes any time some uninformed passerby percieves some imagined insult and rudely demands things be changed to fit their notion of how the world should be.

Signature Lanny Sloan City Administrator p.s. Go Fighting Illini!

Sacajawea Shoshoni

Whatever your feelings are on this issue, please write a letter to the editor of the Recorder Herald and express them. An Email link is also provided so you may send an email to Lanny Sloan below.

A letter to the Superintendent of schools and one to the Chairman would also be appreciated. Recorder Herald 519 Van Dreff Street Salmon, ID 83467 Phone: (208) 756-2221 City of Salmon City Hall 200 Main Street Salmon, ID 83487 Phone: (208) 756-3214 Email:

Candis R. Donicht, Ed.D., Superintendent, Salmon Schools District 291 P.O. Box 790 Salmon, ID 83467 Phone: (208) 756-4271 Steve Lish, Chairman, Board of Directors Salmon Schools P.O. Box 790 Salmon, ID 83467 Thank you!

Sacajawea Shoshoni

Idaho schools will stick with Indian nicknames

As the national debate heats up over the use of Native American monikers, the 12 Idaho high schools that use them don't plan to change, but some are modifying logos Idaho Sierra Powell has strong feelings about being a Boise Brave, and the debate surrounding the use of Indian nicknames and mascots. The 17-year-old Powell, who graduated last month, participated in a committee last year to address what some viewed as negative cheers at the high school. From those discussions, the school banned the "tomahawk chop" arm gesture that has been used by fans of the Atlanta Braves baseball team and Florida State football team.Boise had already disallowed student fans from covering their mouths with a hand to make an Indian whooping sound. But the school isn't about to drop the "Braves'' nickname, which has many meanings, Powell said. This list includes being courageous, regardless of your ancestry, she said.

"The Boise High student body in general and the faculty, we are proud to be a Brave," Powell said. "It's not something degrading, and it's a symbol of what Boise High means to us." However, Powell realizes mandating political correctness can be a slippery slope. "Where exactly would you draw the line?" she said. That's a question being studied by the NCAA this summer. The governing body of college athletics is holding a series of meetings to explore whether its 30 member institutions with Indian nicknames should be able to keep using those nicknames. A decision could be made by August.In Idaho, 12 of the 143 member schools in the Idaho High School Activities Association use the nicknames Braves, Indians, Warriors, Savages, Chiefs or Redskins. All 12 are sticking with those nicknames, despite the ongoing national trend calling for athletic teams to be more sensitive toward potentially offensive stereotypes. But some schools are modifying theirIndian logos as they react to a controversy that mostly hovers over college and professional teams. Boise has gone to a more authentic-looking Indian for its logo.

The Meridian Warriors are moving toward an "M'' for their logo. The Salmon Savages have stopped using all Indian logos, and the Salmon River Savages have changed their sports logo from Indians to Caucasians.The IHSAA, the governing body of prep sports in Idaho, does not regulate the use of Indian nicknames, logos, graphics or mascots. It is up to each school, executive director Bill Young said. The Nez Perce Tribe, which has one of four Indian reservations in Idaho, does not have an official position on high school Indian mascots, said Wilfred Scott, a former member of the Tribal Executive Committee. "It's up to each school to take a look at how affected the people are they are portraying. I hope the students themselves will decide with their hearts,'' Scott said.The Nez Perce Tribe, however, did write a letter to an NCAA committee in support of a possible ban on Indian nicknames, logos and mascots.The Coeur d'Alene Tribe has not taken an official position on the issue. Quanah Matheson, a Coeur d'Alene Tribe anthropology specialist, stated — through Terri L. Parr, the legislative officer of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe — that "we understand how this issue can be sensitive to those in Indian country. "At this point, however, the Coeur d'Alene Tribe and others are dealing with tougher issues at hand: protecting and preserving our lands and resources and maintaining our sovereignty."A source of pride Some schools with Native American students have a lot of pride in their Indian mascots, said Sho-Ban athletic director Merle Smith. His school is located on the Fort Hall Reservation, home of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.

The Sho-Ban Chiefs recognize the cultural pride of their Native American students with pre-game activities, such as singing and drumming. The school uses Native American logos and graphics. The main logo is a war bonnet with cascading feathers. "We honor them. We honor our culture. We do it in a good way," said Smith, who is of Assinaboine-Sioux descent. "People look at our school and think we have a right to portray Native Americans. We're pretty proud of our identity. I think the community tries to emphasize that we are a Native American school.''School administrators at Kootenai (Warriors), Meridian, Salmon, Salmon River, Sho-Ban and Shoshone (Indians) have spoken with Native American leaders about their Indian logos. Most administrators from the 12 schools have spoken with community members, parents, athletes and students in varying degrees about the subject.Community feedback prompted Shoshone to drop the use of Indian mascots at games about six years ago, and the Teton Redskins did the same about three years ago. "It was a little offensive to some of those with Native American backgrounds, so we did away with it. ... But we still use the chief mascot symbol. We haven't had any complaints whatsoever,'' Teton principal Blaine McInelly said.

Other school officials have made a variety of changes on their own to make sure disrespectful Indian logos, graphics and mascots are a thing of the past. "We certainly don't want to offend Native Americans," Meridian High principal Don Nesbitt said.Images of an Indian chief, an arrowhead or a spear may be seen around Meridian in some places, and may be used in the future, Nesbitt said. But the school has made other changes after input from coaches. "We have really moved toward the 'M'," Nesbitt said.Similarly, Shoshone is using the letter "S" more on their uniforms, principal Joe Hendrickson said. Boise High has gone back to the profile of a Brave head for its main logo, but also uses a single feather with a "B.""It has an honorable look to it," Boise principal Ken Anderson said. "I don't allow any group or organization to use a caricature of an Indian or Brave or any type of cartoon. ... To us, a Brave epitomizes so much of the nobility of Indians. We pay them high regard.

We want to honor that." Boise High has received three or four letters in the past eight years regarding the school's use of Native American images, Anderson said. "Each one of those letters I have addressed so far to their satisfaction," he said.Boise tones down weapons Boise is downplaying the depiction of Native American weapons and is using other ways to illustrate strength in competition, Anderson said."We have gone to more of the shield and feathers, like the University of Utah. We've done something similar to that. We've used the feather quite a bit,'' he said. Boise replaced the spears on the school seal with spirit sticks. The mascot remains a cheerleader dressed as a Brave. Ashley Burt, who graduated from Boise last month, likes her school's nickname. She participated in several activities including lacrosse, track and field and debate while at Boise."It was never meant to be offensive.

It was really meant to be the opposite of that. We love the (Braves nickname). We totally embrace it," Burt said. Classmate Peter Storms doesn't have a problem with the nickname, either."My stand is that it's at the high school level and they should be able to use the name because it is not commercialized (to the extent of college and professional teams) and it's OK as long as it is not in a demeaning fashion," Storms said. Balancing act The most dramatic debates regarding the use of Indian images came in the late 1990s and into 2000-2001 at Salmon High and Salmon River.A Native American coalition based in Illinois issued a complaint against Salmon High for its use of Savages. Moscow Superintendent Candis Donicht was the superintendent at Salmon at the time. The process took more than a year, but the Salmon School Board unanimously voted to keep Savages as the nickname. It did decide to remove all Native American images from the school.School officials tried to balance the wishes of alumni, the community and students, Donicht said. Students were involved in the process.

"There was a true intent not to be offensive. ... We were interested in more than just being politically correct. We were interested in a learning experience for the kids who worked through that," Donicht said.The school uses the word "Salmon" and sometimes "Savages" as its sports logo and currently does not have a graphic to illustrate the nickname. The Salmon River Savages, at roughly that same time as Salmon, went through a process to change their logo to replace Native American images with a Caucasian male on a horse and Caucasian female on a horse. The school kept its Savages nickname. Salmon River principal Marilyn Giddings described the process as "really positive." The school tried to balance the wishes of the alumni and community to preserve some of its sports history, along with being sensitive to Native Americans, Giddings said. Scott, with the Nez Perce Tribe, met with Salmon River students during the debate. He was impressed with their process and efforts to engage students, faculty, staff and the community in a dialogue about Indian mascots."I think the students themselves have more empathy and understanding than adults do," Scott said.

About 10 years ago, the Kootenai Warriors switched from a caricature of an Indian chief to a more authentic-looking chief. The school, located on the Coeur d' Alene Reservation, has not had complaints since the switch, Kootenai principal Rich Lund said."I think it's based on how you treat the (Indian logo) and what you do. ... We don't look at it as a negative type of thing,'' Lund said.

Sacajawea Shoshoni


What's in a name?

By Greg Garber

MARQUETTE, Mich. -- The debate before the six-member school board, lively but strained to this point, is starting to spin out of control. There has already been the threat of a lawsuit, and now the screaming and name-calling are escalating. "Are we sub-human?" asks Jody Potts, a Native American resident. "Are we inferior to whites? That kind of puts us in a class with all these other mascots. You know, eagles, donkeys and pigs. That's really disrespectful. "I'm just wondering, are any of you slightly understanding where we're coming from?" The beleaguered members of the school board sigh and shuffle their papers. They avert their eyes. The truth is, they do understand the issue. The fact is, given their mandate, they are powerless to do anything. For roughly 70 years, the Marquette High School sports teams have been known as the Redmen and the Redettes. The logo is an Indian chief in full headdress. In recent years, Native Americans have objected to the nickname and logo as offensive and condescending.

For the last year, the issue has torn this city of 65,000 apart. The logo was actually retired in 1998, but the decision was reversed earlier this year. In the school board election last summer, there were four new board members voted in -- all supported the name and logo. A school closing and budget concerns were almost an afterthought. Marquette's experience is not unique. A growing sensitivity to diverse cultures -- cynics call it political correctness -- has led more and more communities to question the names and logos of their sports teams. Some 2,600 institutions, from grammar schools to high schools to junior colleges to universities, use Native American imagery, according to ESPN research.

So far, about 600 have dropped the Native American references. Many, like Marquette, are in the discussion stage. In Salmon, Idaho, for instance, the Salmon Savages nickname has been shelved after the threat of legal action. School officials decided to avoid a long court battle that might have cost as much as $250,000 by retiring the Salmon Savage name and mascot. The University of Oklahoma was the first major school to dump its Native American mascot -- "Big Red," an Indian caricature -- back in 1970. Stanford, Dartmouth and Syracuse soon followed. More recently, schools such as St. John's and Miami of Ohio have dropped Native American references. In Marquette, on the tip of Michigan's rugged Upper Peninsula and hard by Lake Superior, it hasn't been so easy. The UP represents one-third of the state's geography but only three percent of its population. There is a sense of history here, and the majority of the people in the community would like to see it preserved. School board president Dr. William Birch calls it a "Norman Rockwell" town, and he's right. Dennis Tibbets, the director of Native American studies at Northern Michigan University, has helped to organize the fight against the logo. His ancestors, the Anishanabees, lived in Marquette generations ago.

He points out that Native Americans are the largest minority group in Marquette. Debates like that at Marquette have happened around the country in recent years. "It's the idea that they have this sign in front of the school with a warrior," Tibbetts says. "Then they tell you, 'We're honoring you by making you our mascot.' Like we're some good-luck charm. To me it's a symbol of ignorance that you don't know very much about our culture." It was Tibbetts who brought Michael Haney, the director of the National Coalition of Racism in Sports, to Marquette in early October. The lawsuit, alleging that the logo and nickname create an atmosphere of racial harassment, quickly followed. "I'm not going to get involved in a popularity contest," says Haney, a Seminole and Sioux Indian. "We've been losing those for 500 years. These logos have a collectively damaging effect on our youth. It reflects in their passion, performance, the grade-level achievement and, what's most disturbing to us, one in five of our youth will attempt suicide.

"We need to do everything we can as Indian leaders to lift up every obstacle so our children can reach their full potential." The resistance is complicated by the fact that not all Native American residents are opposed to the logo. Tony Rabitaille wore the Redman logo proudly in his days as a Marquette athlete. "It's been tough," Rabitaille says. "My mother and I are on the two different sides of the issue. I don't have a problem with it. Let's keep the heritage. If we get rid of it now, it's gone forever. We're never going to get it back." The lawsuit Haney promised became a formal complaint at the end of October. The school board's lawyers are still reviewing the case, but preliminary signs suggest the city will not willingly retire the Redmen and Redettes nickname and logo. "The board, at this point in time, plans to defend its position," reported Dr. Birch last week. "Ultimately, the insurance company will determine the issue. If they feel they want to draw a line in the sand, they may go ahead so they don't have to keep going to court. They feel this is a good test case.

"The bottom line is, the board has been advised not to address the issue anymore. We don't feel a law is broken. If a law has been broken, obviously, we would make the change. It's in the hands of the courts." Greg Garber is a frequent contributor to and Outside the Lines.




“It is not an honor to be mimicked by fans with painted faces and turkey feathers at sporting events, nor is it an honor to have our race, our self-esteem and our dignity trampled every week for America’s fun and games.” ~Tim Giago