STRASBURG, Colo. (KDVR) — It started out as a process to change an offensive mascot for a high school, and it turned into a strong friendship between the Northern Arapaho Tribe and Strasburg High School.
It is a friendship now, but generations ago it began on unfriendly terms.
“When settlers were moving west, they wanted that land,” Strasburg High School Principal Jeff Rasp said.
Incidents like the Sand Creek massacre laid the bedrock for bad blood between Native Americans and the settlers.
“To have to witness that, to see your people go through that, would be really hard,” Northern Arapaho Tribe counselor Boniface Ridgley said.
Sometimes healing takes many forms, like a high school mascot.
“Lindsey Nichols, a senior, came to me with the idea of exploring it and it was simultaneous with a bill going through Congress at the time,” Rasp said.
In 2014 Strasburg High School contacted the Northern Arapaho Tribe for its input and suggestions to make the Strasburg mascot a symbol of honor.
“We listened to the tribal members and that was the key, to listen to their opinions and concerns, their history, and follow their lead,” Rasp said.
The Northern Arapaho Tribe responded, and the two groups created a new mascot.
“I think that right there is what the world needs, is respect. Respect on both sides. They met each other in the middle and came up with a good logo,” Ridgley said.
“I love it, mainly because they do, so really it’s a matter of being in tune with their ideas of how to honor them best,” Rasp said.
Now a celebration happens every year at Strasburg High School – Home of the Indians.