EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

Cedar High School grapples with mascot name, five years after it was changed

Mar 27, 2024, 8:00 PM

FILE: Cedar High School in Cedar City is pictured on Wednesday April 7, 2021....

FILE: Cedar High School in Cedar City is pictured on Wednesday April 7, 2021. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

CEDAR CITY, Utah — The Iron School District Board of Education is grappling with changing the Cedar High School mascot back to the “Redmen.”

Five years ago, the Board voted to change the name from “Redman,” to “Reds.” In doing so, they switched the Native American mascot imagery to a wolf.

However, Iron County Board members Lauren Lewis, Dave Staheli and Jeff Corry requested to reinstate Redman as the Cedar High School mascot. 

The Board met last night to discuss the issue. Many alumni cast their varied opinions about the idea of switching back. 

Tony Cosilia spoke in favor of changing the name back. He cited it as a way for his son, a football player, to connect to his Native American roots. His three children are Hopi. 

“My oldest son … he was a warrior out there. He said when he walked out there, he felt his Indian heritage, and he was proud of that,” Cosilia said.  

Pushback against the switch

According to a press release, Iron County district administrators received an official request from the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah to not reinstate the name. They said those advocating for the return to “Redmen” don’t have authority to speak for the tribes. 

Tamara Boshart, who’s Paiute, said in the meeting that mascot names like “Redman” leads to verbal abuse. 

“Phrases like ‘let’s have a powwow,’ ‘too many chiefs, not enough Indians,’ ‘redman,’ ‘redskin,’ verbalizations of whooping or making war cries … these phrases have been historically used to degrade and dehumanize Native Americans,” she said. 

Boshart said if a change is necessary, the Board should consider things like “the pioneers” or “ironmen.”

Letting the public decide

After hours of discussion, Board member Megen Ralphs proposed putting the issue out to the public to decide. The board will place it on the ballot “as early as legally possible,” according to a press release. 

“I acknowledge and recognize that some may have been harmed by the “Redmen” name over the years and we do not dismiss the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah’s request to not reinstate the name,” Iron County school district  Superintendent Dr. Lance Hatch said. “However, I also acknowledge the harm that has been done to community members who feel a connection to the name.”

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Cedar High School grapples with mascot name, five years after it was changed