Home of the PHS Indians (Pocatello High School) sign

A sign in front of Pocatello High School that reads, “Home of the PHS Indians.”

The Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25 Board of Trustees forged ahead with deciding a new mascot to replace Pocatello High School’s Indians mascot during a meeting at the district office on Tuesday evening.

The school board chose to eliminate the Wolves as a potential new mascot since the Wolf Pack is already used as a mascot by New Horizon High School in Pocatello.

District 25 spokesperson Courtney Fisher said the board is continuing to move toward selecting a new mascot and will retire the Indians mascot, effective June 1, 2021.

The five-member board narrowed the field to five options for a new mascot.

The new mascot options include the Pocatello Bison, the Pocatello Phantoms, the Pocatello Thunder with a Bison mascot, the Pocatello Thunder with a Thunder mascot and the Pocatello Mountain Lions.

Driving the change are the ramifications of the existing Indians mascot.

“My concern is we do things from time to time that we don’t intend to be bad for people but this is one that’s definitely racist,” school board member Janie Gebhardt said.

She has spoken to members of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes who see the issue as one in which something that’s sacred to them is being misused in the context of being part of a mascot.

“We need to do better,” Gebhardt said.

Meanwhile, board chair Dave Mattson said high school students created the images of the different mascot possibilities and did a remarkable job.

“What we saw was done really quickly, that’s good stuff,” Mattson said.

Further, board member Jackie Cranor said she went to Pocatello High and loves everything about it. And that will always continue, no matter what.

“Our goal has never been to erase the history,” Cranor said. “That history will always remain here.”

She said people who attended and love the school will have that forever.

“They went to high school as Indians, and I think they will always see themselves as Indians,” Cranor said.

Changing the mascot isn’t going to change her love of the high school or the fact that she was a Pocatello Indian.

But times have changed and things are different now.

“When we get older we have to retire things one way or another,” Cranor said. “And I think it’s part of a process that happens through time.”

Two Pocatello residents, Jeff Edwards and Douglas Coffin, attended the meeting and spoke strongly against changing the Indians mascot.

Moreover, the board approved a request from Pocatello High School to sell various Indians themed memorabilia that has historically been a part of the school.

The following list details the items for sale, and the proposed price, which could vary depending on reasonable offers:

• Indian athletic uniforms: $10-$50 depending on the age, level of wear and type

• Metal benches with the Indian head and arrow feet: $750 each

• Indian sign above the sidewalk and across the street: $1,000 each

• Indian basketball wall pads: $100 per set

• Indian logo cushioned chairs: $100 each

Cranor says the retirement of the Indians mascot isn’t meant to demean, hurt or take away pride or history. That pride and love of the school will always be there for Pocatello High School students and graduates.

“Sometimes we have to deal with controversial issues,” Cranor said. “Sometimes we need to make a decision that’s not popular — but it’s the right one.”