Uintah High adopts bear as spirit animal

Uintah High adopts bear as spirit animal
Posted on 10/14/2020
This is the image for the news article titled Uintah High adopts bear as spirit animalUintah High School, with the advice and consent of the Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee, has adopted the bear as its spirit animal.

Student leaders met with the Business Committee on Oct. 5 to request the use of the bear as a costumed mascot for the school. Committee members gave the school their approval but asked that Uintah High refer to the bear as its spirit animal instead of its mascot.

Members of the Ute Tribe revere the bear as a sacred animal.

Tribal leaders said they were “honored” to have the school approach them and ask for permission to use the bear, according to Ute Tribe Tutor/Mentor Melissa Taveapont, who attended the meeting with Uintah High Student Body President Marcus Bender, UHS Student Body Vice President Daniel Wright, Student Council Advisor Janalee Watkins and Principal Sharon Shipton.

Business Committee members gave the Uintah High representatives some recommendations regarding dress and costumes for the bear that are culturally appropriate and respectful. They also invited UHS students and staff to attend the 4th of July Pow Wow in Fort Duchesne in 2021.

On Tuesday, Oct. 13, the student council chose to name the bear “Yost.” The name was chosen to honor Jacque Yost, a beloved substitute teacher and huge supporter of sports at Uintah High.

“His school pride will be reflected in our spirit animal,” Watkins said.

Uintah High's adoption of the bear as its spirit animal is similar to the University of Utah's adoption of Swoop, a red-tailed hawk, as the costumed mascot for the university's sports teams.

Students and staff at Uintah High are proud to be known as the Utes and thank the Ute Indian Tribe for its ongoing support.
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