Defining Pride: La Veta Redskins

Posted at 11:39 PM, Aug 24, 2020

LA VETA — Nestled right at the foothill of the Spanish Peaks, La Veta is a prideful town of around 800 people, with a busy main street in the warmer months.

"I've lived here almost all of my life, it's a great place to be, a lot of people come around," legendary football coach Don Price said.

The locals also take pride in their high school mascot: The Redskins.

"Being Native American it means a lot to me, it's respect," resident Sher Clouse said.

It's a name that has brought plenty of attention locally and nationally over the years.

"They changed it in the 1940s or 50s and everybody just liked it," Price said.

However, the conversation intensified this year when the National Football League's (NFL) Washington franchise dropped their highly-debated nickname.

"It probably brought the conversation up for some of those who didn't consider it," resident Dennis Jones said.

Everyone in this town has an opinion on the matter, including Mayor Douglas R. Brgoch. Last month, the long-time politician calling the mascot "racist" in the Huerfano World Journal.

"It feels like this is an important moment to take the momentum from that huge change to deal with the Native American mascot issue more broadly," Colorado College professor Christina Leza said.

News 5 has reached out to members of the La Veta school district and board, receiving a "no comment" on several different occasions.

Currently, the district is in the process of building new football and basketball facilities and only "La Veta" will be displayed. A clear indication that the town could be on its way to cutting ties with the controversial nickname that dates back almost 70 years.

"I guess you have to look at why you are doing that and with the new school coming in they better take into consideration changing it," Price said.

With fall around the corner, the tourism season is coming to an end in this Southern Colorado town. With it, a potentially longstanding debate might also be making its way out of the "Scenic Highway of Legends."

"It used to be only about a year or so ago the windows for the shops in this town were painted for every event at the high school," Jones said. "Redskins and so forth."