Times-Herald/Chris Riley
Vallejo High School students walk under the large Apache mural as they make their way across campus between classes.

California High School Votes to Remove "Apache" Mascot

ICTMN Staff
11/25/13

There are four high schools in California with Apache as its mascot's name. But, after a unanimous vote late last week by one of those high schools, now, only 3 schools bear the tribes name.  

The trustees of the Vallejo City Unified School District near the San Fransisco Bay area voted to scrap Vallejo High School’s Apache mascot. They agreed that the name mocks Native Americans.

The mascot’s name has sparked controversy between people in the district who say that the name honors the Apache and Native American groups who say it is offensive.

"It's demeaning, it's dehumanizing and it's time to go," Melissa Mendoza, a parent at the district, told an NBC News affiliate.

Mildred Wagner serves as secretary for the Intertribal Council of Solano County and said that she has lobbied the school for years to change it.

(VHS-VCUSD-ca.schoolloop.com)

"We have Native students that go to the school and we've heard they're embarrassed about the whole thing," Wagner said. "They're scared to say they're Native American because they'll be ridiculed and teased."

But Timothy Banks, who films many of Vallejo’s athletic games, said he's never heard students mock the mascot. Banks said that the decision to change the name is "a little over the top." 

"I don't think it's a legitimate complaint," Banks said.

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A staff report by Vallejo City Unified School District said the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights recommended avoiding the use of Native American images and nicknames, according to NBC News. The report did not offer a specific replacement for the Apache mascot, but sfficials say the school will likely retain its colors even if the board approves the mascot change.   

Schoolboard members are scheduled to discuss the next steps and possible options for a new mascot at their next meeting.

There are 14 high schools with an Apache mascot in the United States, according to MaxPreps.com, a website that tracks high school sports team. Three are in California: Sanger High School in Sanger, California, Centennial High School in Compton, California, and Arcadia High School in Arcadia, California.

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Kim L DeOcampo's picture
Kim L DeOcampo
Submitted by Kim L DeOcampo on
The organization that brought about the changing of the Vallejo HS Apache Mascot was the Sacred Sites Protection & Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the same organization that occupied the Glen Cove Burial Site in Vallejo for 3 months. SSP&RIT initiated the meeting with the school board superintendent & requested that in be placed on the agenda. The rest is history.
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