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Napa Indians No More?

Julian Sosa, Reporter

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Napa High has been known as the Indians since 1897, something that might soon come to an end. There have been many meetings regarding a mascot change but as of right now there is still no answer. There will be an open meeting of the NVUSD school board April 6, 6-7pm, in which anybody can come and discuss the possible change. The official decision will be made by the school board April 20th regarding if the mascot will stand or be changed.

Though many students have different opinions, I personally don’t mind if the mascot goes or stays. Yes, it has been the mascot for one-hundred and twenty years. It also has a Native American aspect, but we don’t know what it really stands for. We don’t know what the headdress we use every year for big game represents. Only certain tribes of Indians used headdresses so, what Indian tribe are we really representing? We are unsure.

To many Napa High students changing the mascot would be a good thing. On the other hand, changing the mascot would be extremely expensive and would end the one-hundred and twenty years of tradition. Students are only at Napa High for four years and every student has a different opinion. Students come and go, some like the mascot, some not so much. So in order to stop all the talk about the Indian mascot the board should come to a final decision soon and get this topic over with. The people who should decide if we should keep the mascot should be the Native Americans from our valley.

In an informal survey from students in all grades, students were asked if they believed the mascot should be changed. Twenty-seven said yes and sixty-two said no, which shows more students are in favor of keeping the mascot.

A Napa High Junior who wished to remain anonymous said “I think it should be changed because if it’s offensive to one person, it’s offensive to too many.’

“The term ‘Indian’ isn’t even the correct term. ‘Indian’ was made up by the Europeans when they came to America thinking they were in India. We shouldn’t honor this genocide and justify it as ‘it’s a high school tradition.’”

Another anonymous Napa High junior said “We should keep the mascot, it has been here for more than 100 years, so why are we changing it now? … Changing the mascot will also cost so much money that we don’t have, so we are doing ourselves a favor by keeping it,” knowing that the cost will be high.

An anonymous freshman said “All of my family has graduated from Napa High as Indians, so I don’t want to be the first one not to, so I’m hoping the mascot stays so the tradition keeps going”.

The Napa High mascot committee was made up of 4 NHS students, 2 parents, 3 NHS alumni, 2 NHS faculty members, 3 Native American advocates, NVUSD superintendent, 2 district office staff members, 1 board member, and 1 community member/faculty member at Napa Valley College (Ethnic Studies Department).  Besides recommending the mascot change, the committee recommends that if the mascot is changed, it should be gender neutral, meaning fair to both females and males. So something like “Napa Bulls” or “Napa Rams” shouldn’t be used because, in my opinion, it sounds really masculine. They also proposed that “the school mascot shall be respectful of different cultural values and attitudes and will depict dignity and respect.”

But at the end of the day Native American voices matter more than our voices because they are the ones being affected the most and are the ones we are representing.

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Napa Indians No More?