Boise High’s “welcome” rock now has a new owner … but who is it?

Posted at 3:56 PM, Sep 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-12 19:00:10-04

BOISE, Idaho — The iconic Boise High School “welcome” rock –- which used to stand in front of the school and was engraved with a profile of a Native American -– has now been auctioned off. But Boise School District officials said the rock’s new owner wishes to remain anonymous.

Sealed bids were accepted until Sept. 4. The winning bid was $5,277.

The rock was auctioned as part of the school’s mascot change. Last month, we reported Boise High School is changing its Braves mascot to one officials felt is more in line with the school’s values -- and one less offensive to those of Native American descent.

The school’s original mascot, the Braves, showcases a Native American-themed caricature that the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, in a letter to the Idaho State Board of Education, said displays “racial misappropriation.”

“The Braves was instituted some 100 years ago. Things have changed since then. And the world has changed,” said Dan Hollar, spokesperson for the Boise School District. He said the reasoning behind Boise High School’s change was “from a caricature to a character trait.”

“No longer referring to Boise High as the Braves, but as Brave,” said Hollar.

It’s only a one letter difference, but it’s a complete change in meaning for Idaho’s Native American tribes; in particular, the Shoshone-Bannock tribes, which wrote a position paper to the Idaho State Board of Education, requesting the mascots of eight Idaho schools be changed.

The schools they requested change their mascots are:

Salmon Savages, Salmon
Salmon River Savages, Riggins
Teton High School Redskins, Driggs
Pocatello High School Indians, Pocatello
Shoshone Indians, Shoshone
Preston Indians, Preston
Buhl Indians, Buhl
Boise High School Braves, Boise

“If you put yourself in their shoes -- and see the issue through their eyes -- it’s disrespectful to them,” said Hollar.

Then, as part of the efforts to update the Boise High mascot, the school and the district put the school’s well-known “welcome rock” up for public bid.

“Proceeds will be used to enhance Boise High's Native American curriculum,” Hollar explained in and e-mail.

Boise School District officials say the change will take a number of years -- in order to change sports uniforms and mascot logos throughout the school.