Goodbye Clairemont Chieftains

Natalie Jacobo, 9th

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The San Diego School Board has decided to change the Clairemont Chieftain mascot as of April 1st saying it offends the Native American culture.

Many local tribal members are upset due to the native representation used in many schools. San Diego Unified School District School Board Director Dr. Joe Kester said, “The local members feel offended because mascots are often animals, so it is like we are referring them to animals.”

School administrator Dr. Fulya tried to explain to the Native American group that the intention was not to offend them, and hoped they would walk away, taking no action.

A member of the Kumeyaay tribe wanted to take the school to court but was convinced not to by Dr. Fulya.

A Kumeyaay local tribe member said, “If they change the mascot our tribe won’t take legal action.”

The offensiveness of specific terms, images, and performances to Native American culture tends to create problems with people’s feelings and personal opinions. The intention of Clairemont high’s mascot has always meant to honor Native Americans by using traits such as being brave, proud, and fierce to depict the school’s student spirit but many local tribal members and others see these as stereotypes.

The widely known Washington Redskins football team has been criticized many times due to the racial slur towards the Kumaya’s and other tribes around the nation.

In the United States, California ranks number one in the nation for the total amount of Native tribes within a state. This results that the state has the most state and federal trial cases from the Native Americans.

Approximately 184 schools use Native American depictions as their mascot in California. After the state banned all use of the term “Redskin,” four schools continue to use it as a school symbol.

Once Clairemont high found out about what happened, most of the students and teachers were very disappointed. Senior April Storie said, “The Chieftains mascot has been here forever, and it’s going to be very sad to see it go.”

Although everybody is sad about seeing it change, people have been asking questions about what it is soon going to be. “What are we going to be then?” said junior G. Otu.

The school board decided to leave the choice of the new mascot up to the students. ASB adviser Mr. T. Rick is going to hold a voting poll in the gym from 7:00 AM to 2:10 PM on April 3rd.

ASB will officially announce the winner on April 6, the same day of the pep rally. Vice Principal Dr. Amay Dum said, “Students have put in some suggestions for a new mascot. I would like it to be “The Flamingos,” but sadly it’s not my choice. I can’t wait for them to announce the winner.”

The choices of a new mascot are leaning towards “The Anteaters” or “The Turkeys,” but none have been chosen. The colors of the school will be changed as well to look similar to the new mascot.

While Clairemont will never be the same, the school is ready to welcome a new mascot.