Iron County School Board votes to change controversial ‘Redmen’ mascot

Marquee sign on Cedar High School campus shows its "Redmen" mascot, Cedar City, Utah, Jan. 15, 2019 | File photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — A divided Iron County School Board voted Tuesday to eliminate the controversial “Redmen”  mascot at Cedar High School at the end of the current academic year, according to a statement from the board. The vote was 3-2.

A community committee tasked with reviewing the mascot held three public hearings across December and January before voting 17-7 on Jan. 15 to recommend that the school board change the “Redmen” moniker, which has been in use since the early 1940s.

“This has been a challenging, yet crucial process, to evaluate an issue that the school district has been looking at for decades,” Iron County School Board President Stephen Allen said in the statement. “Each board member spent a great deal of time reviewing the recommendations made by the committee and conducting our own research and follow up with groups and individuals.

“In the end, the board was split, which shouldn’t be surprising since the community has been split on this issue. An important consideration for the board was the safety and well-being of every student. In keeping with the Iron County School District’s mission statement, it is essential that Cedar High School has a mascot and symbol that is inclusive and honoring of all.”

Although local Native Americans had expressed divided opinions about the mascot, many tribal members expressed a desire for a change, according to the news release from the school board.

“Several themes emerged from the community discussions during this process, including the importance of tradition and keeping a connection to our Native American culture,” Allen said. “We need to have a much more robust relationship between Iron County Schools and our local Native American tribes. We are pleased that our district and local tribes are currently working to establish educational partnerships so that our alumni and student body can find meaningful ways to learn about and honor our Native American heritage.”

A transition team composed of Cedar High alumni, students, faculty, tribal and community members will help facilitate the change, including the decision on the new mascot.

“Just because the mascot is going to change, doesn’t mean that all of the traditions will change,” Allen said. “It is our hope that as we move forward, we will be able to keep many of the traditions and strong ties to the things we have loved and celebrated about Cedar High.”

Now that the decision has been made, Allen urged community members to come together.

“We know that many will be disappointed with the board’s decision, but we sincerely hope that the Cedar City community will embrace the potential for positive change and unite to put the best interests of students first.”

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