Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Native mascots still a sticking point in high school sports


August 10, 2020

BOUNTIFUL, Utah — At a mostly white high school near Salt Lake City, the steps leading to the football field are covered in red handprints, arrows and drawings of Native American men in headdresses meant to represent the mascot, the Braves. "Welcome to the Dark Side" and "Fight like a Brave" are scrawled next to images of teepees, a tomahawk and a dream catcher.

While advocates have made strides in getting Native American symbols and names changed in sports, they say there's still work to do mainly at the high school level, where mascots like Braves, Indians, Warriors, Chiefs and Redskins persist. Momentum is building during a nationwide push for racial justice following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the NFL team in Washington dropping the Redskins name.

At Bountiful High School, there's nostalgia for the Braves name that's been used for nearly 70 years and comes with an informal mascot — a student dressed up in feathers. Fans point to tradition when rhythmically extending their forearms for the tomahawk chop, wearing face paint and chanting at football games.


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