Bountiful High Alumni Start Petition To Change Mascot Citing Cultural Appropriation

Jul 8, 2020, 10:11 AM
Bountiful High School...
FILE: Bountiful High School. (KSL-TV)

BOUNTIFUL, Utah – When friends Mallory Rogers and MyKala Rogers attended Bountiful High School from 2011-2013, they enjoyed going to football games, showing school pride and sporting the school’s mascot, the Braves. But it wasn’t until years later they felt uncomfortable with what was socially acceptable at the time

“There were headdresses being worn, face paints being worn at games, and chats being used and we didn’t realize that that was wrong at the time,” MyKala Rogers said.

With so many discussions about racism, racial inequality and calls for change across the country, the two felt now was a time of reflection in their own community.

“We are having a national discussion about our relationship with the race in this country right now,”Mallory Rogers said. “We are seeing it at a national level with professional teams. And we have a team right here at home, so we need to have this discussion here,”

The two joined forces and on July 4 started a change.org petition to change the mascot name, stop practices of the student body wearing face paint, headdresses, chanting “war cries” at sporting events and assemblies, and renaming the “Pow Wow” Homecoming events.

They emailed the high school, school district, and city officials to start a discussion and to inquire about the process of changing the mascot. Within hours, they had a response from Bountiful Mayor Randy Lewis.

In the email he questioned if Mallory Rogers is indigenous and laid out when he did not agree with her views.

“If you are not an official representative critic of the ‘braves’ (not brave), do you have evidence that the indigenous people are offended by Bountiful High,” he wrote. “I have lived here for 41 years and I have had 6 children graduate from Bountiful High and none of them are embarrassed to have gone there to school. This sounds a lot like sheep mentality that follows the BLM movement. Now is a good time to pile on. Oh and I attended the BLM gathering in Bountiful. I believe we all need to be less easily offended about many things.”

Mallory Rogers said she was shocked and disappointed by his reply and shared her frustration along with a screen shot of the email on Twitter.

“It was so unprofessional and disrespectful and dismissive,” she said.

On Tuesday, Mayor Lewis apologized for his comments. He said that as the mayor of Bountiful City he takes seriously his “responsibility to listen carefully to all concerns and questions” that come his way, and he apologizes for where he fell short in these responses.

“I was worried that it wasn’t my place to speak up,” Mallory Rogers said. “I am white. You can see that. If I’m wrong, fine, but I would rather take action and be wrong than do nothing and be complicit.”

The Davis School District also responded to the emails from petition organizers and said they would be open for discussions.

The petition has since garnered support from the League of Native Voters, a Utah organization working to increase understanding of issues affecting Native Americans.

“Knowing that we have their support is validation that we are pushing for much needed change,” Mallory Rogers said. “Removing the mascot would end this debate and we wouldn’t have to revisit this. It would be over.”

As of Wednesday morning, the petition had more than 1,500 signatures and counting.

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Bountiful High Alumni Start Petition To Change Mascot Citing Cultural Appropriation