A California high school is set to change the name of its mascot from the “Indians” after extensive criticism that the use of Native Americans as mascots is racist.
In a unanimous vote by the the Fairfield-Suisun School District board, Armijo High School in Fairfield, Calif. will no longer call their mascot the “Indians,” SFGate.com reports.
In a public meeting, area residents spoke out about the issue. Cynthia Weary, a public commenter, said the school district “can’t afford not to” change the name.
“I stand here and I think about about my ancestors who were enslaved, and it was people at that time saying what it would cost to free black people,” said Weary. “And here it is 2019 and we’re talking about, what does it cost.”
Defenders of the “Indians” name said maintaining the title preserves a sense of tradition. But they also emphasized that changing the name of the mascot could be a costly endeavor. According to the Daily Republic, nearby schools like Vallejo and Napa high schools have already undergone the same name change process and it ended up costing $250,000 and $500,000.
A school committee chairman, Tim Goree, consulted the nearest local tribe to see how they felt about the controversy. The Yocha Dehe Wintun tribe was “very clear that they’d like to see the mascot changed,” Goree said to the board.
On the Armijo Alumni Association’s Facebook page, comments proved to be quite mixed. People weighed in with comments ranging from “Bad!” to “PC California!” with a thumbs-down emoji.
Critics have also flooded social media with negative comments.
“No mascot because someone will always be a snowflake,” read one comment.
“I think it is absolutely stupid that they change anything! What the hell is wrong with people?” added another opponent of the name change. “Maybe we should outlaw people wearing their pants on the ground! I’m affended [sic] by that, or mean people, or rude people, why don’t they outlaw or change???”
Despite the outcry from some alumni, Armijo High School Principal Sheila Smith told the Daily Republic that she was very impressed with the way current students participated in the process, and said that they will be actively work with the school board in the process to choose a mascot replacement name.
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