Less Than Noble ‘Savages’

By Gary Norris Gray, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: March 30, 2010

CALIFORNIA (BASN) — Nine months ago, a young man from the state of Idaho wrote and inquired about my article “Change The Name”. It was an historical and political retrospect about the legal fight Native American Indians have been waging for 60 years.

They want these logos and mascots removed.

First, there is the issue of the name Savages which Salmon High School use for their athlete team, second the school needs to be explain the reason for this name. It’s not a very flattering term and the residents of Salmon should reconsider this name and reinstate the logo.

The logo is a majestic Indian in head dress.

A few months ago, the Salmon School Board decided to remove the logo and keep the name. The fight continues for respect in the Native American Communities across America.


Sav·age ( adjective, noun, verb, -aged, -ag·ing. adjective)

1. fierce, ferocious, or cruel; untamed: savage beasts; 2. uncivilized; barbarous: savage tribes; 3. enraged or furiously angry, as a person; 4. unpolished; rude: savage manners; 5. wild or rugged, as country or scenery: savage wilderness; 6. Archaic.

uncultivated; growing wild. -noun.

7. an uncivilized human being; 8. a fierce, brutal, or cruel person; 9. a rude, boorish person; 10. a member of a preliterate society.

-verb (used with object); 11. to assault and maul by biting, rending, goring, etc.; tear at or mutilate: numerous sheep savaged by dogs; 12. to attack or criticize thoroughly or remorselessly; excoriate: a play savaged by the critics.

The only two individuals that had common sense in this debate was Rod Ariwite who is Native American and local reporter Annette Ungaretti. Ms.Ungaretti must be given her props She addressed every question openly, honestly, and objectively unlike the young residents of Salmon…

Salmon, Idaho is a small town on the Eastern Idaho and Western Montana boarder just west of Butte and north of Boise .

This is birthplace of famous Indian maiden Sacajawea and the Shoshone Indian Tribe. This city is 95% white with 1% American Indian and 2 % Latino or Hispanic.

These are the quotes from the Facebook website:

Bring The Salmon Savage Head Back!!! Here you can give ideas about what you think should be done about the town logo and/or name. I personaly think that Salmon should fight for their right to have an indian head as their logo.

Who cares about what Californian says about it. That’s what Salmon has been since Salmon high school was founded and built. Back to topic. You give ideas if we should change the name and the logo to something more appropriate.

Or keep the name and fight without a logo. Or fight to get our logo back.

Have Fun, Admin.

Rod K. Ariwite “…Aren’t you proud of your warriors then?” Yes, we are proud of the Lemhi-Shoshone warriors who fought to protect our cultures and preserve our lands. We are proud and we don’t want them demeaned by being “honored” in a sports activity on a playing field. Our people died tragically in wars motivated by greed for our lands.

Our peoples have experienced forced removal and systematic genocide.

Our warriors gave their sacred lives in often vain attempts to protect the land and preserve the culture for future generations. Football is a game. www.indianmascots.com “Admin” you showed your true colors today…bitch and moan all you want…we have a voice NOW, and we do not agree.


Ariwite It is not the intention of the Salmon School District to bring back the “Chiefs” head as a mascot for Salmon High School. We realize there are some in Salmon who would like to do this, but this idea is not coming from the District. The District is actively working to find alternatives and an acceptable resolution. Thank you. Tana Kellogg Superintendent Salmon School Dist #291

Hailey Tiersma So let me ask you this Mr Gray. Why the heck the do join this group in the first place? This is a support group.

P.S. I would LOVE to have a team called the “WASHINGTON STATE WHITE BOYS” but you know that would be racist just because caucasians are labeled the majority and the minorities would have a field day. It’s not because the caucasians would be offended by it.

April Shepley If the Washington Redskins can have their name we should certainly be able to have the savage head. Salmon should fight to keep the savage head. The best part of Salmon is that we have always stood up for our selves and not worried about being PC. Fight Fight Fight.

April Shepley I’ve read these posts and articles on this subject and a few things struck me.

1st. The post that mentions Sacajawea helping the white man, the only way whe was able to do that was by being stolen from her own people and carried half way across the country by another tribe. Sounds a bit savage to me.

2nd The term savage could very well be describing the miners that worked the area when this name was thought up. The miners, and my family is proud to be, were uncouth, rude, rough, and uncivilized alot of the time. Growing up in Cobalt and other mining camps my mother can atest to this typical behavior. Mr. Gott could have been thinking of the miners at the time.

3rd Savage can simply mean fierce fighter, ferocious battle, strong opponent. When I think of the Salmon Savages, I don’t think, “those Savage Indians” I think of the great athletes who have come from salmon, the great teams we have put on the field and the good sportsmanship we always display.

And just to point out of the survey taken by the Washinton Redskins, 91% of Native Americans don’t find the term Redskin offensive.

The Washington Football Club did not ask the correct questions. Like the Salmon warrior head dress it is a photo of a majestic Indian Chief. Most Native Americans would be proud of this logo just as the Salmon High School.

The Washington Football Club just like the residents of Salmon never inquired whether Native Americans respected the name.

Sacagawea, (Sacajawea), (Sakakawea), was kidnapped by two cowboys (Louis and Clark) from her home and died from disease. Some American historians still refuse to acknowledge this fact today because they want to keep the love story between the pair alive.

We still don’t know whether this union was with Sacagawea’s consent.

One hundred years ago Sacajawea’s People the Lemhi-Shoshone were forced to move to the Fort Hall Indian Reservation 200 miles south of their homeland. This fact is covertly omitted by the residents of Salmon.

Rod K. Ariwite Teachers nationwide are educating their students about the ethnic cleansing/manifest destiny that happened in Salmon, Idaho.

Apparently our history isn’t worth teaching in this fine town. http://lemhi-shoshone.com/ salmon_savages_mascot.html New mascot included*

Amanda Pearl Stricklan-Moore The Indian Head is not to be saying we are racist towards Indians… Its saying we would love to be fierce, unbeatable, unstoppable, and have pride.

Just like the Indians in Salmon Idaho were like! If we could be only a 4th of what they were, we would be happy! They stood up for themselves now its time for SALMON IDAHO to be more than so town out in the middle of nowhere and stand up for your right! YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE WHAT YOU WANT TO BE AND WHO YOU WANT TO BE!!!

Shouldnt that include a mascot too?

NO, Amanda it does not include the mascot when you degrade or defame another. Was ask why and how did we arrive on this web site so had to explain the credentials

Gary Norris Gray I have a double degree in political science and history emphasis on the German 3rd Reich (yes, Nazi Germany) the economic impact on world cultures and a minor in African American studies from Southern ILL. Univ. @ Carbondale with a 3.5 GPA I do not have a writing degree. so subjects like this always interest me and how people react and defend their actions be for the positive or negative. THESE ARE THE SITES I QUOTE FOR THE ARTICLE past sports mascots and help (AISTM) American Indian Sports Team Mascots and The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). Some of the information in this article comes from the NCAI, AISTM and Gibbs Magazine web sites.


Hailey Tiersma Sad. With all those degrees, you would think you could properly cite things. What you provided above is sadly not that at all.

It also seems that the sources that you provided are biased. You also never address my concern about having a “white” athlete website. What are you thoughts on that?

Hailey, do you know how difficult it was for any disabled student to attend a major university or college in 1970-1980. At that time there were only 7 schools in America that accepted disabled students. My 1st choice was Grambling State University in Southern Louisiana a predominate African American School . At that time GSU was not wheelchair accessible.


Gary Norris Gray i don’t care if you have a white athlete web site. you really don’t need one because you already have 2,700 television sports networks there are over 2,000 sports radio shows by whites over the country ESPN is own and run by whites, FOX SPORTS NETWORK is own and operated by whites, all of the COMCAST SPORTS NETWORK are owned and operated by whites so what is your point .WHAT are you talking about.

Black Athlete Sports Network in the only sports network in this country that is black owned and operated. it is the only network that views sports from the Black or Minority point of view without filters white stations and networks do not allow this if they did there would be no need for BASN.

Many major stories about Black athletes have been slanted and distorted by these white networks with no avenue to response BASN is the answer so go ahead have another white sports network you will just blend in with they rest of thousands of them

There was a reminder that there are three other African American Sports media but they do not have the political power as the white sports networks in this country. The Black College Sports Network, Heritage Sports Radio Network and American Urban Radio Network.

Gary Norris Gray to get back to the issue at hand if this school is receiving federal funds it cannot discriminate in any form like i said before the logo is not the issue its the name and your school board made the correct decision.

If you look in the dictionary the word savage it not a flattering term and should not be used at all. just as the Washington Redskins should not be used but its a private business not tied to Federal funding and Federal laws I’m really sorry that many of you are fighting the wrong fight. fight to keep the logo that would be honoring our native american forefathers but let the name go please

Rod K. Ariwite Right on Gary!!! These people can bitch and moan all they want, the school board said they are not bringing the mascot back. They also apparently don’t care about the damage caused to young Native American children, but that was apparent when the fine people of Salmon, Id (1907) murdered, starved, then eventually stripped America’s most famous Native American woman, Sacagawea’s people of federal recognition. www.lemhi-shoshone.com

Thanks for this one you did not even have the courage to put a name to this post TRYING TO SHUT OPPONENTS UP AND OUT OF THEIR WEB SITE

Bring The Salmon Savage Head Back!!! To all of you people who join this group to tell us that they’re not bringing the logo back are just wasting your time and have no life of your own. Gary, it doesn’t matter what you or Rod say to us telling us that we are racist and are fighting for nothing.

Mr. Rod, you say that we damaged the young Native-American children’s lives. Let me ask you this, if Salmon is so racist and we don’t like Native-Americas and we ourselves killed Sacajawea, a great Shoshone woman who helped complete this great country, then why is the Sacajawea Center, a great educational center about Sacajawea, her quest with Lewis and Clark, and how much she meant to Salmon, built here?

If Salmon is as racist as you say then why would we build such a great place in this little no name town? We, as town and as people, respect Sacajawea and her courage to help Lewis and Clark. And I agree with Amanda. Ask anyone that graduated from Salmon High School before 1999 and ask them “What were you? What is your name?” and they will ALL answer with the same thing, “I am a Savage and proud of it!”. Ask kids that lost the logo, kids after 1999 either in school or graduated, ask them the same question and they will answer with the same exact answer.

My grandmother, white woman, attended and graduated from Salmon High School and i asked her, “Grandma, what was your name in those days?” and guess what she answered with. She said, “Honey, i was a Salmon Savage and I always will be!” She is not racist in any way what so ever. If she was I wouldn’t have been born.

I respect every race. Everything from Asian, Black, White, Native-American, German, and so on. I was raised to give everyone the same amount of respect and not to be prejudice. This woman that told us to get rid of our beloved logo she was the racist one. Let me explain.

As soon as she saw the logo in our marquee, she automatically thought that being a mostly white town that we were the racist and prejudice town right off the bat. I have one question, did she ask anyone? Did she ask anyone student, anyone alumni, anyone citizen, anyone teacher? No.

She prejudge this whole community for being racist and being disrespectful. But the fact is, we are a great town and every student that I know is respect to everyone.

So, please if you’re not a supporting member then leave but if you don’t i will delete you myself and report you to Facebook. SAVAGE PRIDE!

Dear Administrator, never in any of our conversation was it stated that this group was racist. However several times it was stated that this group needed to truly respect Native American Indians. Salmon High School graduates and alumni should voluntarily give up the SAVAGE name but with this verbal back lash and vile threats, America has a long way to racial healing and racial peace. The lack of economic and political power by most Native American Communities we (Native Americans) will be dealing with this issue for sometime.

In closing the name Savage does not honor the Lemhi-Shoshone Nation it only honors Salmon High School just as the Washington Football Club defames all Native America or First Nation Tribes with their name. Only two individuals on this web site even mention the name Shoshone. So there are question about their sincerity about honoring the tribe.

These are positive examples the Florida State University SEMINOLES honor the Seminole Nation or the University of Utah Ute s honor the UTE nation. This is an act of true respect something that is still in question at this high school in Idaho .

The Salmon High School Board should re-admit or reinstate the logo Indian head and remove the name. That would be the right thing to do.

NOTE: BASN’s Gary Norris Gray is an African American/Native American Indian and a member of the Lenni-Lenape Tribe located in the New Jersey-New York area.