Nezperce School District replaces Indians mascot, keeps colors

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LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — A school board in Idaho has unanimously approved a new mascot to represent its school after it retired the Indians moniker earlier this year.

The Nezperce School District announced its mascot is the Nighthawks, a migratory species of bird that can be found in Idaho, the Lewiston Tribune reported Thursday.

“I think it’s a mascot that the kids are excited about, whether it’s high school kids or whether it’s the elementary kids,” Superintendent Shawn Tiegs said at a school board meeting on Monday. “I would emphasize this was never about changing the past, or anything like that, but about finding a way to move forward in a positive light.”

The district removed the word Indians from most of its sports uniforms and stopped using imagery related to the moniker in 2014, officials said. It officially dropped the mascot in July after the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes asked state leaders to prohibit the use of Native American-based mascots early this year.

District officials chose the Nighthawks over three other options, including the Blue Jays, Bobcats and Cougars. A new logo has not yet been selected, but the district is expected to keep its colors of blue and gold.