Like a demolition team swinging a sledgehammer, legislators intent on purging Native American mascots from Colorado schools smashed their opposition with little consideration of the wreckage they were creating. So certain of the righteousness of their cause, they denied even mere consideration to the communities upon which they imposed their will.
Two of Colorado’s smallest districts – Arickaree (103 students) and Mountain Valley (153 students) – are being severely harmed by this legislation which isn’t just about mascots but instead prohibits any sort of Native American imagery “used as a mascot, nickname, logo, letterhead or team name” by a school.
Surrounded by prairie and farmland on the plains of Washington County, Arickaree School is one of Colorado’s few remaining country schools, located between Cope (population 230) and Anton (155).
Arickaree derives its name from the Arikaree River, which begins near Cope and was named for the Arikara tribe. Given its location and history, it’s hardly surprising that the community selected “Indians” as the name for school teams. Critics could just as easily argue that ignoring the area’s Indian heritage – by changing the name to, say, Arickaree Guardians – would be disrespectful, too. (more…)