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Proposal To Drop Apache Mascot Stirs Debate At Vallejo High School

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The entrance to Vallejo High School (CBS)

The entrance to Vallejo High School (CBS)

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VALLEJO (KPIX 5) – Vallejo High School students call themselves to be the Apaches, but that could change as momentum builds across the country to change mascot names that may be offensive.

“Indian peoples, like all peoples, are not mascots. We should not be categorized in sport or entertainment arena as a mascot,” said Antonio Gonzales of American Indian Movement West. “Apache is a derogatory name, another name given to us by cowboys.”

For years, Antonio Gonzales has been making that argument, but for the first time in years, more people seem agree with him.

The Vallejo City Unified School District administration is recommending the Apache mascot be dropped from Vallejo High. The school board may vote on it this week. No one from the district or school commented Monday, but the students have lots to say.

“It’s like a family thing. We should be an Apache. That’s us. And I want to graduate as an Apache. That’s the thing to do,” said Monique Porter.

There is a rumor going around that the name would be changed to the Dolphins.

“I don’t think (Apache) offends anybody,” said Valeria Banda. “I mean, a dolphin has nothing to do with our school.”

The latest movement to remove mascots with Native American references gained momentum with the Washington Redskins. In fact, many refuse to call them that, instead referring to the “team in Washington.”

In California there are more than 180 schools with similar mascots. There is a groundswell to change potentially offensive names, but it’s not limited to Native Americans. In Coachella Valley there’s outcry over an Arab mascot.

In 1972 Stanford changed its mascot from an Indian to a Tree.

A change in Vallejo could have a ripple effect. If the Apache name is dropped, it could influence schools in Albany, Fairfield, Pinole and Hercules with similar names.

The school board meeting is scheduled for this Wednesday.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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