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Guest Letter!: An Open Letter to the Indianola School Board

The following is a letter to the Indianola school board regarding their use of Native mascots/imagery. This letter was shared with Great Plains Action Society by Indianola community member Deb Schiel-Larson. We at GPAS are incredibly grateful for the work you all are doing and welcome your letters. This is important work and we appreciate it! Please feel free to share your letters with us, email to

Dear Dr. Sathoff and members of the Indianola School Board; Thank you for your hard work. Congratulations to both Art Sathoff and Ted Ihns. As agreed last year, prior to the November elections, we believe it is now time to continue the discussion regarding whether to remove or keep the Indianola “Indians.” We would like to suggest that a planning committee be formed now that would report to the Superintendent and School Board, consisting of interested school board members, students and community members who equally represent all sides of the discussion. Here are proposed committee goals: 1. Information needed: Clarify the information that the School Board and the Community would like to review in this discussion and identify where to obtain it. 2. Topics and Speakers: Identify proposed topics and speakers for the forums, including individuals outside our community and our state. 3. Schedule: Propose dates and times for the forums, with the first one prior to the end of the current 2021-2022 school year to prioritize student participation. 4. Location: Establish a location for the forums that could include Zoom presentations, since some speakers will not be able to travel. 5. Moderator: Invite a moderator for the forums who would work to maintain a welcoming and safe space for discussions. 6. Decision-Making Framework: Establish the criteria to be used for decision-making regarding whether to remove or keep the Indianola “Indians” that includes the Indianola School District’s (ICSD) Vision, Mission and Beliefs as follows: The ICSD’s Vision: Proud Traditions . . Unlimited Possibilities The ICSD’s Mission: Indianola CSD is Committed to Excellence and Achieving a Lifetime of Success The ICSD’s Beliefs: We will put students first. We will meet the needs of all students so that they can learn at high levels and be prepared for next steps along the way. We will provide safe and supportive schools. We will be fiscally responsible and thoughtful about resource allocation. Our actions will reflect our beliefs. I’d like to personally volunteer and participate in this planning committee. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely, Deb Schiel-Larson Indianola, IA


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