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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Education & Student Activism | Racial Justice
SSP&RIT honored to have Vallejo High School mascot removed
VALLEJO, CA – Sacred Sites Protection & Rights of Indigenous Tribes (SSP&RIT) advised the Vallejo City Unified School District (VCUSD) Board of Education on November 20 to remove its mascot (Apache) as it is offensive to Native Americans.
Sacred Site Protection & Rights of Indigenous Tribes voiced an initial concern about the continued use of Vallejo High School mascot at a “Special” Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education meeting on October 22, 2013. Although the mascot was not on the agenda, SSP&RIT addressed the School Board during the Community Forum aspect of their meeting on November 6, 2013. VCUSD at this time announced that the mascot would be on the next board meeting agenda for discussion and a possible vote.
On November 20, 2013, SSP&RIT once again advised VCUSD that the Vallejo High School mascot should be removed. SSP&RIT stated, “The use of Native Americans as symbols and mascots is incongruous with promoting respect for inclusiveness and diversity. Native mascots perpetuate the myth that Native America is purely historical and devoid of any contemporary relevance”. The issue of ethnic mascots is not one of being politically correct; it is an issue of civil rights. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights found that the use of Native American images and nicknames in schools should be avoided.
Several organizations made a show of support in the removal of the Vallejo High School Mascot and addressed the School Board directly. Antonio “Tony” Gonzalez of the American Indian Movement (West), Kathi Hill of the Vallejo NAACP, Phillip Mehas of the ACLU of Northern California, and Richard Becker of A.N.S.W.E.R Coalition.
The Vallejo Unified School District Board of Education (VCUSD) unanimously voted to remove/change the Vallejo High School Mascot. VCUSD agrees that the use of Native American images and nick names in schools should be avoided. VCUSD will be collaborating with Vallejo High School Staff, Students, and the Vallejo Community at large on the identification of a new mascot.
Vallejo High School Principal, Clarence Isadore will facilitate a design team which would create and monitor the process for the school and community to suggest a new mascot/name. All students and staff members have an opportunity to suggest and then vote on the top three. Top vote-getter is selected and revealed at the VCUSD board meeting on January 22, 2014. VCUSD will also be developing a policy to set the expectation that Vallejo City Unified School District students learn the history and culture of Native American People.
Sacred Sites Protection and Rights of Indigenous Tribes (SSP&RIT) is an organization of Indigenous and Earth Peoples dedicated to preserving traditional Native American cultural and spiritual freedom.
This mission includes the protection of Sacred Sites and Places (cemeteries and churches), preserving the right to practice traditional spiritual (religious) ceremonies, and respect for the traditional cultural customs (behavior) of Native Americans. Our goal is to educate the public of the moral and legal obligation to preserve and protect the sacred sites, and to uphold the civil and human rights of all Indigenous Peoples.
Learn More about SSP&RIT and sacred places by visiting http://www.sspandrit.host56.com or http://www.facebook.com/savesacredsites.1