Many have noticed in the last day or so that the famous huge Indian dancing mural on the north side of the gym at Kamiakin High School in Kennewick is no more. (images courtesy of A Broders).

  KSD says the school can still keep the Braves mascot

We noticed a day or so ago (Monday and Tuesday, July 25-26) the large mural, which was a gift from one of the graduating classes years ago, was being taken down. The mural had been installed as four large panels making of the picture of Native Americans dancing around a tribal fire.

Piece of mural (A Broders)
Piece of mural (A Broders)

We reached out to the Kennewick School District and got this response from Communications and Public Relations Director Robyn Chastain:

"In December 2021, the Yakama Tribal Council passed a formal resolution authorizing Kamiakin High School to continue to use the Braves name and mascot (state law passed in 2021 prohibits schools in Washington state from using Native American names and images as school mascots unless authorization is provided by the nearest federally recognized tribe).

 The authorization to continue to use the Braves mascot came after formal consultation with the tribe, and we are working to update some of the images and logos used at the school to ensure the tribe finds them respectful and honoring."

The key phrase here is the part about updating some of the images and logos. We don't know if the distinctive helmet spear with feathers will disappear from the football team or what else will change.   We have not been told any official information, but it is possible someone in a position of authority found some of the existing Native American artwork at or associated with the school to be inappropriate. But again, we have no official word.

Many middle and high schools in WA have had to change their mascots because they were not able to get approval to continue to use them, or they just decided to change rather than go through the process. These include Moses Lake High School, as well as Chief Moses Middle School in Moses Lake.  Moses Lake High School will now become the Mavericks.

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These changes are because of House Bill 1356, which was introduced during the 2021 legislative session. It banned the use of Native American mascots unless the school was on tribal land, was within a certain distance of a reservation, or the school and district had a prior agreement or permission to use such mascots.

Kamiakin mural comes down (A Broders)
Kamiakin mural comes down (A Broders)

We don't yet know what will become of this old mural, which again, was a gift from a KaHS graduating class a number of years ago.

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