Thursday, November 21, 2013

I'm losing a little piece of me...

Yesterday was a sad day for me. In this day and age of political correctness, I became directly affected. I had known for the past month or so that my former school district in the city where I grew up was going to be voting on possibly changing my high school mascot from the Apaches to who knows what. That vote happened last night and the vote was that the Apache was to go as a mascot.

Logo for the group fighting to change the VSHS mascot.

Now I get it, I really do, but I can see both sides not just one. Yes, I suppose that there could be instances where the use of this particular mascot could be seen as detrimental towards the Apache Nation but that had not been my experience at all when I was in school. The way I see it is that these types of mascots symbolize the history of our nation and in a day and age when cultural learning is limited (yes, it happens in the Filipino community as well) I see it as a way of extending the recognition of the Apache Nation.

Apache mascot circa mid-80's/early 90's.

Apache drawing (by a student) used for our senior pages
in my 1982 yearbook (when I graduated).
Now, maybe things have changed since I was in high school some 30+ years ago. Back then we were proud to be "Apaches." Heck, I even dropped out of the gifted program just so I could be a part of the Apache Marching Band, one of the winning-est bands in a school our size in the state of California. Being an Apache was a source of pride for us, school spirit was through the roof. No, we didn't have a mascot who was a caricature/comic style but rather our mascot was a student dressed in maybe not so traditional Native American garb. I don't remember if it was accurate attire, in fact I doubt it was, but then again I don't think that it was a derogatory representation of the Apache Nation either.

Apache mascot circa late 90's/2000's.
I believe that this was a student drawing.

Life size Apache warrior carved from one of the oldest trees on campus.
I can't recall if it was brought down by disease or construction where it stood.
One of the arguments was that Native American students would be afraid to admit to their heritage for fear of being ridiculed. I have no idea what the population of Native Americans, particularly Apache, were in school when I was there but I did have a friend from band who was not shy about his Native American roots and he was never made fun of that I am aware.

Yes, times have changed and who knows what goes on nowadays. But no matter what I'm still sad. When I go home I'll have lost part of my identity. Do I continue to say that I graduated from Vallejo High as an Apache or will I have to adopt the new mascot (yet to be determined) to still identify with the school? Truthfully, I feel like I'm losing part of my own identity. But sei la vie...whatever will be will be.

I will forever be a Vallejo High Apache.

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