Colorado school district gets to keep mascot named after Kiowa Tribe

A Colorado school district will still be able to use its mascot named after the Kiowa Tribe despite a state law banning the use of American Indian mascots by schools going into effect next month, voted the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs on Thursday.

Elbert County School District C-2, based in Kiowa, was removed from the commission’s non-compliance list, meaning its three schools — Kiowa Elementary, Kiowa Middle School and Kiowa High School — can still use the district’s current mascot, the Kiowa Indians.

“The district is excited that as a school we have the honor of helping to preserve the history of the Kiowa Indians,” the school district said in a statement posted on its website. “Our town and district are dedicated to working with the Kiowa Tribe in the education of our students and community.”

Last year, state lawmakers passed Senate Bill 21-116 to prohibit the use of American Indian mascots by Colorado schools starting on June 1, 2022.

Elbert County School District has an agreement with the Kiowa Tribe in Oklahoma regarding the three schools’ use of the mascot. The district is also adding classes for elementary and high school students in its effort to comply with the law, according to the commission.

The classes will offer Native American education, reported Fox 31.

A representative with the school district could not immediately be reached for comment.

Eleven schools in eight school districts remain out of compliance with the law, including Arrowhead Elementary and Thunder Ridge Middle School in Cherry Creek School District and Hinkley High School in Aurora Public Schools.

The other districts with schools out of compliance, include Lamar School District, Chyanne Mountain School District, Mesa County Valley School District, Poudre School District, Sangre de Cristo School District, and Greeley-Evans School District 6, according to the commission’s website.

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