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Principal, Native American groups react to Cheyenne Mountain High School mascot change

Cheyenne Mountain High School has a new mascot, the red tail hawk. The principal and a couple of indigenous groups spoke to 11 News about the mascot change.
Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 4:57 PM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - After almost a year, Cheyenne Mountain High School has a new mascot, the red tail hawk.

In September 2020 the Cheyenne Mountian school board introduced a proposal for the “immediate retirement” of Native American names and imagery in the school district.

11 News spoke with the new principal of the high school, Carrie Brenner, on Thursday about the mascot change. Brenner says students, staff, and community members have been working together to pick the mascot and the Red Tail Hawks seemed like a natural choice. “It’s natural to our community, you know in fact during the lacrosse playoff games and the soccer playoff games this spring we had a pair that we believed her roosting in the area and they swooped down right over the student section,” says Brenner.

11 News reached out to two Native American groups for statements on the new mascot, both had differing opinions:

“The Indigenous community congratulates D12 in their selection of their new mascot after voting earlier this year to stop the use of their previously harmful imagery. We hope that the district can now move forward in developing meaningful relationships with Native Nations and Indigenous organizations to implement a curriculum that teaches accurate history & actively works to undo the decades of promoting racist stereotypes.” -Pikes Peak Indigenous Women’s Alliance

“The Native American Guardian’s Association expresses our extreme disappointment at the loss of yet another part of Native Heritage with the decision of the Cheyenne Mountain Indians board to eradicate their decades-long, proud Native theme. As an organization, we will continue to fight for Native American identity preservation in Colorado and the nation more broadly.” -The Native American Guardian’s Association

Carrie Brenner tells 11 News, Cheyenne Mountain still stands by their decision to change the mascot. “The students, staff, alumni, and community participated in a collaborative process to create our new mascot, the Red-Tailed Hawks. Cheyenne Mountain High School is excited to begin the planning and preparations with our students for our 2021-2022 school year as we look forward to the many celebrations, events, and traditions that make our home, Cheyenne Mountain,” says Brenner.

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