Submitted by Bethel School District
November is Native American Heritage Month. There is no more fitting time to announce a new mascot for Bethel High School.
House Bill 1356 took effect July 25, 2021, and states that “beginning January 1, 2022, public schools may not use Native American names, symbols, or images as school mascots, logos, or team names.”
Bethel High opened its doors in 1952. After nearly 70 years, they are changing their mascot from the Braves to the Bison.
The school’s new Bison mascot was chosen by a committee of students, staff and community members. The committee sent a survey to the community at large, as well as to all district staff and BHS students. The survey results, which included mascot ideas, were used by the committee to help guide their conversations, and eventually to reach their final decision, which was unanimously approved by the school board this month.
Bison will be forever entwined with the plight of Native Americans in the United States. As the committee chose a new mascot for Bethel High, they wanted to step away from the Braves image that was seen as disrespectful, harmful, and stereotypical, while still honoring the past.
As they considered dozens of mascot ideas, the committee embraced the idea of an animal that lived in a community – one that didn’t act as an individual, but that saw the power in being part of a whole. An animal that was strong on its own, but stronger together. That is key to how we think about Bethel High. Individually, and together, we are Bison strong.
The school is currently putting a plan into place to get all signage and uniforms changed as soon as possible.
Attached you will find concept art for the new mascot, as well as a photograph of the students who were part of the committee and presented the new Bison mascot to the school board. From left to right: Ramya Nichols, Rebekah Morales, Karla Chavez, Mia Red Crow, James Lathrop
• “A Bison is full of strength and self-determination. The way our kids should be throughout their high school journey. Strength to get through anything and determination to achieve all goals.”
• “There is a great reverence and respect for the bison to sustain life for the Native Americans, so it is fitting that the Bison would live on to honor the history of the Braves.”
• “I feel that this mascot could be used in fun ways to build school spirit. Stomping on the risers/grandstands like a herd coming in.”