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Dozens take part in heated protest over Cheyenne Mountain High School mascot

The district is considering removing the 'Indians' mascot
Cheyenne Mountain mascot protest
Posted at 10:49 PM, Oct 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-13 08:18:37-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Monday evening brought a heated protest over an ongoing issue: does Cheyenne Mountain High School's "Indians" mascot need to go?

Police even came out to keep the peace as easily over a hundred people took over the small street in front of the Cheyenne Mountain School District 12 offices to let officials know where they stand.
It was a diverse crowd.

"I am Choctaw," said Jessica Burwell, who was protesting to keep the mascot.

"I am Kiowa Tribe and half southern Cheyenne," said Kaya Bohay, who was protesting to remove the mascot.

Many of the people protesting had things in common.

"I am a Junior at Cheyenne Mountan High School," said Weller Dorff, who was protesting to remove the mascot.

"I am a senior at Cheyenne Mountain High school," said Alex Saldarriaga, who was protesting to keep the mascot.

Yet, they found themselves on opposite sides of the divisive issue.

"I don't think that it's done in an inappropriate way," Burwell said.

"They're ignorant for being here on Indigenous People's Day protesting to keep a racist mascot," Bohay said.

Just feet away, the D12 school board was discussing, in a work session, whether Cheyenne Mountain High School's Indians mascot needs to go away. Things got heated at times. At one point protester in favor of removing the mascot tore the sign out of the hands of an opposing protester.

People on both sides say they hold the issue close.

"It's our culture, we've been around it our whole lives,"Saldarriaga said. "I don't know what they're all saying about being racist or anything. From my experience, everyone around me has been nothing but respectful to the Indian mascot."

"This is not our conversation to have, this is not our decision to make as white people," Dorff said. " You wouldn't use other races as mascots... we wouldn't be called the Cheyenne Mountain Whites.

While there is hope for compromise, the issue still strikes a nerve.

"I believe we should educate better, we should educate about our history, our past history," Burwell said.

"Think of something different, you want to be Cheyenne Indians? Pick a Cheyenne Chief. We can name tons," Bohay said.

At the work session, several protesters came up to the window outside and held their signs against it, with some even coming inside to listen to the board discuss it.

The school board says they plan to establish a timeline of action at their next meeting.