Lamar Thunder Mascot Approved by CCIA

Lamar Thunder Mascot



The Colorado Commission on Indian Affairs voted to remove the Lamar Re-2 School District from their list of schools using a mascot or logo deemed offensive to Native Americans last week, following a special session with Lamar School Board officials.  Listed mascot removals or alterations were mandated throughout the state last year with the passage of SB21-116.

After numerous decades the Lamar Savages logo and mascot is out, and Lamar Thunder will begin replacing the images on school property and at the Lamar Community Building in the months ahead.  Earlier this spring, the school board took steps to begin eliminating depictions of an Indian in headdress from such areas as the school stadium and from the sides of busses, in a display a good-faith measure to the CCIA that the district was working to find an acceptable replacement.  One area that now needs to be replaced is the logo in the gymnasium of the Lamar Community Building, a process that may take several months and at considerable expense for the district.  Lamar students cannot use any facility with the old logo, so a temporary cover may be used to allow school events to take place.

The CCIA vote clears the Lamar School District from a $25,000 monthly fine which would have begun on June 1st.  The Commission rejected two earlier logo alternatives, which still contained Savages in the name.  The third recommendation was presented to the Commission following a meeting in late May, but they took no action at that time, leaving the school board wondering if they needed to pursue costly legal steps to file a temporary injunction.  A follow-up meeting, however, provided a vote from the Commission in favor of the Lamar Thunder logo showcasing a charging bison.

District Superintendent, Dr. Chad Krug, said he contacted CCIA Executive Director, Kathryn Redhorse following the May 19th meeting that left Lamar on the sanctioned school list.  “I wanted to arrange options for the third mascot alternative and the CCIA scheduled a meeting with the board on May 31st.  We had until the 26th to show we had passed a resolution to make the change over to the Lamar Thunder and continued to eliminate the old imagery, which we presented to them.  The CCIA held an executive session to alter their by-laws which allowed the vote to approve the new mascot outside of their regular quarterly meetings, and at that point, we were removed from their list.”

Krug said he appreciated the flexibility from the CCIA as it was encouraging to other schools recently added to their list.  “Given our century old tie to the Savage mascot and the complexity of the situation, it was a lengthy process to bring about these changes.  There were several districts in Colorado that made those changes in a month, but I could not imagine that for our community.”

While the new mascot is being introduced on school property, the statues along Savage Avenue will not be removed as the street is the property of the City of Lamar.  As far as Native American artwork within the high school, the superintendent said, “Our position is any mascot that we used, replicated as artwork, is being taken care of, but artwork that has nothing to do with the old mascot will remain. I feel that is an overreach from what the bill intended.”  He added that there are schools throughout Colorado that may have similar artwork displayed, but he can’t imagine they’d be contacted to have to make changes or remove the images.

Changes are being made to the school’s website and online presence as well as a temporary sticker for the floor of the Lamar Community Building.  Krug said, “I’m in contact with a company that will provide a temporary seal for school activities which should last into the volleyball and basketball season and into the spring.”  He added the school will pay for that cost.  The costs of the change are not inexpensive given the scope of district properties that will be updated now.

Krug explained, “We tried to let the CCIA know that this is an expensive undertaking, and the mandated changes are not part of any game being played as the financial cost to any community is real.”  He said the funding is being reflected in the district’s budget.

By Russ Baldwin

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