While I really feel it is up to the Native tribes themselves to object to stereotypical representation as school mascots, the failure of Marysville High School to follow the lead of other institutions, including Colusa, prompts me to express my own objections to the “Indian” logo.
MHS’s supposedly inspirational Indian mascot clad in Plains regalia in no way represents the indigenous people who once populated California.
Mr. Chiono’s lauding of “the Indian way” ignores the fact that Indian culture is not now nor was it ever a monolith of uniformity. A multiplicity of languages and tribal entities characterized California, and none included the high school mascot. The most pervasive commonality shared by the diverse tribal entities of indigenous people is the fact that their populations were decimated by European colonization. How can a school logo honor a subjugated people?
If Tolerance and Respect are values we hope to inculcate in our youth, then we must model respect by eliminating ethnic stereotypes whenever possible.
Surely Marysville’s time has come, with the nationwide reckoning that is under way on the issue of racial injustice. It is an injustice to the First Nations of California that a nameless Indian in Plains regalia STILL represents this 21st century generation of MHS students. Just because a logo has been in place for many years does not mean it should not be reexamined in light of improved understanding.
Let’s do the right thing: create a new mascot/logo for Marysville High School.