Boise High: Now Home of the Brave

Moesha Aplicano-Burnham, Reporter

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Recently, Boise High School underwent a very significant change involving their mascot. Previously, they were known as the Boise Braves, but that has been changed to the Boise Brave. The change was made as the original name and mascot were considered offensive and insensitive based on the history of the term.

Back in the 1800s, when the westward expansion was taking place in the U.S., Native American people were hunted, and hunters were rewarded with money if they were able to kill or capture them. At that time, people started commenting on how brave the Native Americans were for fighting for their lives and their way of living.  Eventually, this transitioned into calling Native American people “braves.” While some people may see the term “braves” as an honor to the Native American history and what they went through, it’s a very different story for the culture of the Native Americans who were involved.

While this change seems pretty recent, it’s actually been in progress for a while. “Since my first year here as Principal, we were approached every year by either different individuals or groups who were asking us to change Braves, in terms of culturally appropriating Native American culture, with statements of people who find it offensive. Although I hadn’t heard that from any actual Native Americans on any large scale until late last school year,” Robb Thompson said.

“We took that information that these people were bringing forward to us over time, and really tried to move further and further away from a human depiction of the Indian Braves; like you’ll see feathers and arrowheads and things like that. We obviously didn’t want to do anything that’s offensive to anyone.” This transition also included changing the school crest in 2014 so that no Native American imagery would be on it. This change will also mean the removal of the Braves rock that sits outside Boise High. 

While it is a positive change and a very much needed one, it is still a big change that students and staff will need to adjust to, and Principal Thompson offered his thoughts on the students adjustment.“Obviously change can be hard, but there are a couple of things that I think are really important. Number one: what nobody is doing or will do is erase the history of Boise High, so if your parents were Boise Braves in 1985, then they will always be Boise Braves in 1985. We’re not going to take down state championship banners, we won’t confiscate everybody’s yearbooks from 2019 and change the name. What we are doing is to help define culturally how we identify Boise High going on from here.”It’s a big change but also a positive one, because not only is it changing the cultural appropriation that was happening but also it provides many new opportunities for students to leave their mark on Boise High’s history. Recently, the students were given the opportunity to submit their own designs and ideas for the school’s new mascot and the Logo Design Committee voted on their top favorites to be considered. This is one of the many opportunities students will have in defining the future of Boise High. 

It’s incredible that this generation of students get to witness the beginning of a change in their school’s future, a transition from something that has been in place for the past 100 years into something that will be around for the next 100 years.

“I think it’s exciting to have the opportunity to do something unique, something that no one else does; as a student here. What a great opportunity to have.” Mr. Thompson said. “You are always a part of Boise High. What our mascot is has very little to do with who we are and the values that represent us.” While it is a big change that the student body is adjusting to, it’s a positive one, and one that does not erase what Boise High has been, but helps shape what Boise High will be.