My name is Joseph Carter Felde, and I am currently attending my junior year at Pocatello High School. I am speaking because I want my voice heard, and I believe many should listen. For three years of my life, I have been a Pocatello Indian, and for thousands of others, they too are Pocatello Indians. We should not let the Pocatello/Chubbuck School Board make an unnecessary change to a noble and dignified mascot. At PHS we practice honor. We honored the Shoshone/Bannock tribe by naming our city after their leader, Chief Pocatello. We continued to honor them by building our foundation off of their culture. Changing the mascot would be dishonoring history and rich culture. I think that it is important to continue to respect and honor the Shoshone/Bannock tribe by continuing to use the mascot. One opposing thought was the concern of cultural insensitive comments made by rival schools. PHS Indians should not have to face the consequences of these actions, it is the ignorance and intolerance of the rival schools that is responsible. The same ignorance is responsible for wanting to change the mascot, they need to realize that this problem cannot just be solved by completely getting rid of a historical figure. The true way to deal with this problem is by teaching tolerance and educating the youth about the Indian culture. I was humbled to speak to many Pocatello High School alumni, and the response to the actions taken by the school board is overwhelmingly against their decision.
The approach taken by Lisa Delonas was upsetting. She claimed to have PHS students on board. Not once was my voice heard by Mrs. Delonas. In the video distributed by her, she and many teachers discussed how they are in favor of retiring the mascot. Not a single opposing thought was given. We were given the option to civil discourse in our class about the topic, but we were told that the decision was already made. A part of Pocatello High’s mission statements is citizenship. It is described as, “As members of a larger community, students and staff embody caring and compassion through contributions of time and talent to improve the lives of fellow students, the community, and the world. Good citizenship is emphasized through organized and anonymous service.” I don’t find her approach to changing the mascot express this mission statement. Alumni are outraged, as am I and many PHS students, by the change of their history and the history of the city.
Joseph Carter Felde,