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After Redskin Ban, CA High School Votes on Native Mascots, Even Skull Headdress

The Calaveras Skulls? After Redskin Ban, CA High School Votes on Native Mascots.

After a statewide ban on high schools using the Redskin mascot for sports teams, Calaveras High School in San Andreas, California has put more Native-oriented mascots on a community ballot up for a vote to choose a new logo. Selections include their former Native image without the term Redskins, a red ‘C’, a Redhawk and a Skull wearing a sacred headdress.

Last week, the school put up the mascots on their school website for a vote. The logos were the the Calaveras Reds, the Calaveras Redhawks, the Calaveras Skulls, and Calaveras High School, with the former Native figure as the mascot, but omitting the term Redskins.

Last October, California became the first state in the country to ban the use of Redskins as a sports team name, logo or mascot in public schools. Dahkota Kicking Bear Brown testified three times before the California legislature to support the passage of the law, at just 17 years old, Brown has become the youngest White House Indian Education advisor in history.

See Related:Obama Names National Advisory Council on Indian Education Members

In a story last October, Brown told ICTMN that the ban in California was sending a message to the rest of the country, “I think that the real message is telling every other state that there is definitely evidence that the use of this racial slur as a name is absolutely wrong. And our California legislature agrees with that. I think [this is] California leading by example, realizing that maybe it’s time for a change and that these racist mascots aren’t right.

Dahlton Brown (Dahkota's Brother) told ABC 10 Newslast week, that the Calaveras school is still appropriating Native culture.

"Thankfully the slur is gone, but the issue remains that they continue to appropriate Native culture that they have no right to use as a mascot, " Brown said. "It is an issue of privilege, and they are not used to being told 'no', and are going to fight tooth and nail to keep up their tradition of playing Indian.”

Calaveras High School Superintendent Mark Campbell told ICTMN a Miwok elder was part of the advisory committee that helped to select the new mascots, including the skull in a headdress.

When asked if he thought the skull was offensive, he admitted he could understand why some eyebrows might raise but added, “I’m not in a position to say, one way or another. I am going to remain neutral and let things take their course.”

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Calaveras High School Website

The ballot options are listed by the school as follows:

Calaveras "Reds": Maintains many of the same traditions and themes already established for Calaveras High School. By retaining the word "RED" as part of our mascot's name, school in "Go Big Reds"...remains intact.

Calaveras High School: The name “Redskins” is removed as part of the CHS mascot. The traditions and themes, including maintaining the existing logo, remain intact.

Calaveras "Redhawks": It pays honor both to our mascot past and to the Native Americans in our region. The Redhawk is a spirit animal for the Miwuks. The Redhawk is a fierce, raptor like bird that exemplifies the CHS fighting spirit, CHS pride and dignity. By retaining the word "RED" as part of our mascot's name, school in "Go Big Reds"...remains intact.

Calaveras "Skulls": This logo ties into the heritage of local Native Americans, our county, and our school. The Calaveras River is “the river of skulls” according to the Spanish explorers. The CHS yearbook is the “Skull.” It’s a unique mascot as compared to other high schools.

The ballot is located on the Calaveras High School website and is open to the public until May 3rd.

Follow ICTMN’s Arts and Entertainment, Pow Wow’s and Sports Editor Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter - @VinceSchilling