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School administration holds preliminary discussion on Bountiful mascot

Posted at 8:14 PM, Jul 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-08 23:22:29-04

BOUNTIFUL, Utah — Members of the Bountiful High School administration and Davis School District held a short meeting to discuss coming up with a process to address the conversations surrounding the Bountiful High School Braves mascot.

“It’s really early in the process and it’s a decision that won’t be happening overnight, certainly won’t be happening before the first football game," said Davis School District Spokesperson Chris Williams to Fox13 on Wednesday afternoon. “There’s no policy that says when it comes to renaming a school or renaming a mascot, we’re kind of in new territory.”

Various opinions have been circulating after a grassroots effort from two former Bountiful students started an online petition. The pair also reached out directly to Davis School District personnel and City of Bountiful elected officials.

An email response from Mayor Randy Lewis pushed the inquiry further into public light after using terms like 'Sheep Mentality' in his reply. Mayor Lewis later apologized for his language in a statement.

“Where should we go with this, how should we start a process like this?” said Williams about Wednesday's meeting with some of the questions raised from Bountiful High School Prinicipal Aaron Hogge. “Is there a student dressed up in a mascot looking like a Native American, and he said yeah and that will stop.”

“I think it misinforms an entire class of students about what Native American culture is," said Cynthia Sharma, a Bountiful High School graduate from the Class of 2011 who has Navajo decent. “I definitely think the mascot should be changed, no doubt in my mind, I think that there needs to be more education about native american people at Bountiful High School.”

Meanwhile, those in favor of the Braves mascot voiced their support on social media.
"I'm 25% Cherokee and Bountiful Brave graduate; couldn't be prouder to be a Brave!" said Lee Bowman.

"Team names do not offend me at all," said Betty Nelson. "What offends me is people thinking we are so callous to think a team was name the Braves or the Redskins to insult our heritage."
No decisions were made on Wednesday. The conversation between school and district officials is still in the preliminary stages to work on an appropriate process to allow all voices to be heard regarding the mascot.

Click here to read the full statement from the Native American Guardian's Association