On October 21, 2015, Sacred Sites Protection and Rights of Indigenous Tribes (SSPRIT), addressed Napa Valley Unified School District (NVUSD) requesting the removal of the Indian Mascot at Napa High School. In response NVUSD Superintendent, Patrick Sweeney announced the district would create a task force made up of people with different perspectives. The task force or mascot committee, is comprised of Napa High School Alumni, NVUSD staff, administrators, student leaders, local Native American advocates and SSPRIT. For several months the committee has deliberated the appropriateness of the Indian Mascot and will be recommending the mascots removal. The committee recommendation will be shared with the NVUSD’s Board of Education during the districts monthly board meeting.
SSPRIT has successfully advocated for removals of Native American Mascots in public schools and has provided continuing education for students and professional development for educators in districts undergoing Native American mascot transitions. Advised by SSPRIT in February of 2014, Vallejo City Unified School District voted unanimously to remove the Apache mascot at Vallejo High School; consequently removing the Chieftans mascot at Solano Middle School. In February of 2015, John Swett Unified School District (JSUSD) in Crockett, CA, removed the Indian mascot at John Swett High School under advisement from SSPRIT.
In November of 2014, SSPRIT joined the National Campaign to remove Native American mascots in professional sports & media; participating in a protest at Levi Stadium when the San Francisco 49ers played against The Washington Team. In response to the National Campaign, several prominent National media outlets said they would refuse to refer to the team by the epithet it uses for a mascot. The State of California has been applauded for the passage of landmark legislation regarding Native American mascots in public schools. The California Racial Mascots Act – AB30, prohibits public schools from using the term R-dskins as a school mascot or nickname. AB-30 passed in September of 2015. The use of racially derogatory or discriminatory mascots in California public schools is anti-ethical to the California school mission of providing an equal education to all.
Napa Valley Unified School District has an opportunity to take responsible action regarding the district’s policy language against anti-bullying and discrimination. Athletic team names, mascots, and nicknames including school teams, are discriminatory in singling out the Native American community for the derision to which these mascots are often subjected; contributing to the marginalization of First Nations Peoples. Support the removal of the Indian Mascot at Napa High School! Join SSPRIT on April 6, 2017 for the announcement of The Mascot Committee recommendation and for the subsequent vote by NVUSD Board of Education on Thursday, April 20, 2017 @ 7 pm.