Members of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes met with Teton School District representatives Monday to express their support for discarding the high school’s Redskins mascot and logo.
Randy’l Teton, the tribes’ public affairs manager, said leadership was in “full support of discarding” the Redskins’ moniker. She said the Teton High School mascot “does not recognize Native American heritage and is disrespectful of all Native Americans,” including the Shoshone-Bannock.
Teton said that, when the nickname was adopted some 60 years ago, those who selected it might have thought they were honoring Native Americans, “but that’s all changed,” she said. “We have to be able to understand each other’s culture and respect each other.”
Teton said she and SB tribal leaders Nathan Small, chairman; Glenn Fisher, vice chairman; council members Blaine Edmo and Darrell Dixey; Angelo Gonzales, executive director; Lori Edmo-Suppah, SB news editor and tribal members Larry, Clarence and Mary Teton, representing the Teton family, met with Monte Woolstenhulme, TSD superintendent; Frank Mello, THS principal; Brody Birch, athletic director and Doug Petersen, TSD board president.
“It was a really good discussion, and we left the meeting feeling good about the decision” to remove the Redskins reference, said Teton. Tribal leadership was due to send a letter of support to the school district as this went to press.
“We’re happy the issue was brought to our attention,” she said. “We’re all learning from each other at the same time.”
Teton suggested the district install a commemorative plaque or other display to show the Sho-Ban Tribes thrived in the valley and continue to do so.
Native Americans known as Teton, of which Randy’l is a family member, were original inhabitants of the Teton Valley in Idaho and still use the area for hunting grounds, she said. She would like to see the schools participate in education and training of staff and students regarding the Native Americans who reside here now or used the area 100 years ago.
She and members of her family and others still say their prayers to their ancestors when they come to the valley.
The TSD board of trustees July 8 will hear public comment on the district’s intent to remove all references to Redskins from its high-school mascot and logo during the district board meeting July 8 at the THS auditorium at 7 p.m.
Woolstenhulme said he’s willing to listen to others, including members of the community, alumni, people affiliated with the district and more, regarding his decision last month to immediately remove the “Redskins” moniker from the district.
Woolstenhulme, who independently decided on the change, held off to hear public comment after a meeting with TSD board chairman Doug Petersen June 12.
Public outcry over the issue, including a “Save the Redskins” Facebook page and a petition demanding the public be heard, has been intense since the announcement June 10.
An article in the Native American Times reported July 1 that the National Indian Education Association called for immediate elimination of race-based Indian logos, mascots and team names from educational institutions throughout the country.
The NIEAS passed the resolution at its 40th Annual national convention in Milwaukee in October, according to the story written by Barbara Munson and linked from the TSD web site.
“Mascotizing reduces persons to caricatures, it reduces intrinsic worth to financial worth, it creates an environment of ignorance and intimidation,” said Chris Kraatz, visiting assistant professor, Indiana University, in the article, “The Truth about American Indian Mascots,” which can also be linked from the TSD web site.
New TSD trustees Carol Dansie and Delwyn Jensen will be sworn in July 8.
TVN en Español
Los miembros de las Tribus Shoshone-Bannock se encontraron con representantes del Distrito Escolar de Teton el lunes para expresar su apoyo a desechar la mascota de los Redskins (Pieles Rojas en español) y el logotipo de la escuela secundaria.
Randy’l Teton, el gerente de asuntos públicos de las tribus, dijo que el liderazgo del tribu dió su apoyo completo a desechar el nombre Redskins. Dijo que la mascota de la escuela secundaria “no reconoce la herencia indígena y es irrespetuosa de todos los Indios americanos,” incluso el Shoshone-Bannock.
Teton dijo que, cuando el apodo se adoptó hace aproximadamente 60 años, aquellos que lo seleccionaron podrían haber creído que honraban a Indios americanos, “pero todo esto se cambió,” dijo. “Tenemos que ser capaces de entender la cultura de cada uno y respetar el uno al otro.”