Spirit Lake School Board Votes 4-1 To Keep Indian Mascot

Spirit Lake, Iowa — The Spirit Lake School Board voted Monday evening to keep the Indian mascot, but the decision wasn’t unanimous.

Twelve members of the public addressed the board on the matter, which was resurrected after the district received a letter from the Spirit Lake tribe of North Dakota demanding the Indian mascot be changed, saying it is offensive. Among those addressing the board was Sandy Lamori who is a resident of the Spirit Lake School District and is a member of the Ponca tribe of Nebraska.

District patron Kate Mendenhall was among those calling on the board to drop the Indian mascot…

She says the focus should be on education and what is best in the long run.

Resident Vicky Larson says she favors keeping the Indian mascot for Spirit Lake teams.

School Board member Jerome Mouw, who was recently appointed to fill a vacancy on the board, said he surveyed 46 people about the mascot issue.

He says none of them were in favor of changing the mascot.

Fellow board member Greta Gruys said she wanted to hear more input from the public before making a decision…

Mouw made the motion to keep the Indian mascot. It was seconded by board member Sonya Hamm. It passed on a four-to-one vote, with Gruys voting in opposition.

Several years ago, Western Christian High School in Hull dropped their “Indian” mascot. They later adopted the name “Wolfpack” instead.

With help from Community First Broadcasting sister station KUOO.