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Salmon High council listens to Indian views

Teens say `Savages' mascot not intended to offend tribes

Eleven Salmon High School students say their school has no ulterior motive in the mascot "Savages," and they told students at Shoshone-Bannock High School they are willing to consider a change.

But they made no promises.

"It was never our intention to offend you," Salmon High School sophomore Jamie Hansen said. "I'm open to change. Even without the name or the logo we'll still be who we are, and we'll still be proud of our athletes."

Representatives from the Salmon High School Student Council went to Fort Hall recently to learn more about how students there feel about their mascot -- which has been at the center of controversy in recent months and is now the subject of legal action by the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media.

Sho-Ban teacher RoseAnn Abrahamson, a Lemhi Shoshone who graduated from Salmon High School in the 1970s, told the Salmon students her way of being popular in high school had been to become a Salmon Savages cheerleader and mascot. Back then, she said, cheerleaders wore outfits with fringes and her friends regarded her as a "good luck charm."

"I shamed myself in front of my people," Abrahamson said. "And I tell you today I'm ashamed of myself."

Abrahamson lived for part of her childhood with other Lemhi Shoshones at the Indian Camp near the Salmon High School. The Indian Camp was razed in the early 1990s and has since been replaced by Kids' Creek Pond. Years ago Abrahamson pleaded unsuccessfully with city fathers to name the park after her people. She said the only remaining sign of her people's presence in Salmon is the chief's head on the Salmon High School marquee coupled with the Savages name.


Views and comments from me (Mike Wicks).
I have made my feelings known about the mascot, the name, and the logo, and while I believe it to be racist to use such, I do also understand what these students mean when they say it was not an intentional thing set out to offend. My objections are based on the fact that these names, logos, and mascots are harmful to children - the quote from RoseAnn Abrahamson in this article is proof. She still carries a feeling of shame from the association with the mascot. That does not mean that I have any bad feelings toward the students who are very much attached to that mascot. From the article, the students seem to be showing a very good understanding of this, and rightly state that they can still be proud of the athletes and students even without the mascot, name, and logo. That shows me that their education is not lacking, parents and teachers should be proud that the students feel pride in themselves and the athletes, and that pride can surely continue. I would commend the students and the educators who instill this pride, and remind them that it isn't the name or logo that instills that pride, those are only symbols of a pride that already exists.
Mike

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