At Calaveras High School in San Andreas, students and teachers are proud to call themselves Redskins, but it’s a mascot name that might not last much longer.
The California Assembly overwhelmingly approved a ban on the name for school teams and mascots, and now that issue goes to the state Senate for consideration.
“I’m happy to be a Redskin. We’ve been respectful, we have community support, it’s a good thing,” English teacher Audrey Biehle said.
School officials said they’ve worked with local Native Americans to gain approval of the nickname use.
“We’ve worked closely with the Miwok tribe to make them aware of the mascot. Since I’ve been here, the dignified approach we take is something we take very seriously,” Principal Mike Merrill said.
But a student from nearby Jackson, in Calaveras County, has made it a priority to have the nickname eliminated. Dahkota Brown is a Native American attending Argonaut High School.
“By having a racial slur of a name, Calaveras has granted all schools they go against the right to mock and make fun of Native Americans” Brown said.
A ban on race-based mascots has been approved before by the California Legislature but each time those bans were vetoed by then Gov. Schwarzenegger.
The hearings before the state Senate have not yet been scheduled. If the ban is passed, it would take effect in 2017.