To: Dr. Sid Salazar, Superintendent of ALVORD Unified School District
Dr. Salazar: Change the Norte Vista School Mascot
We urge you to choose an alternative mascot to the "Brave". This title is offensive to Native people because it dehumanizes Natives through outdated stereotyping.
Why is this important?
I am a Native American student who attends Norte Vista High School in Riverside, CA. Seeing the misrepresentation and dehumanization of my culture is demeaning and morally inappropriate. This mascot falsely iconizes Indigenous people and treats us as if race is a logo.
Let's settle this once and for all; this is the first step in recognizing Natives as actual people not a mystical joke.
Next Thursday I will be going in front of the Superintendent of the District and the other Board Members to present my proposal of a Mascot change for my high school Norte Vista. Though our mascot isn't the Redskins, it is still a Brave. The portrayal of the two are still the same just with a different name. According to "Missing the Point Center for American Progress":
Research shows that these team names and mascots can establish an unwelcome and hostile learning environment for American Indian/Alaskan Native students. It also reveals that the presence of AI/AN mascots directly results in lower self-esteem and mental health for AI/AN adolescents and young adults. And just as importantly, studies show that these mascots undermine the educational experience of all students, particularly those with little or no contact with indigenous and AI/AN people. In other words, these stereotypical representations are too often understood as factual representations and thus “contribute to the development of cultural biases and prejudices.” Racist team names and mascots provide a misrepresentation of AI/AN people that masks the very real and continuing hardships that these communities endure today. "
It's sad to say, but we need the US government's help in some way when it comes to bettering our communities. This is all due to the point in history where the US intentionally wanted to make the Natives reliant on the government in a way to get rid of us and assimilate us (Termination Era, Allotment, Federal Indian Law, Federal Trust Responsibility etc etc). Up until President Obama, no US president has paid any attention to the sovereign nations. They pushed us to the side and paid no attention to us. How can we expect to work with the US when it is filled with people who think of us as a joke, as something of the past because of these mascots and Hollywood portrayals and being cut out of the History curriculum (which is another thing I want to change, but one step at a time).
The change of mascot is one step in the right direction. Adidas even said they're willing to help out financially, so what's stopping us? Thank you for your time and your support. It would mean a lot if you shared this link with everyone you know, Native and Non-Native. Wopila!