The city of Chowchilla has moved to hang “Redskin Way” signs on the poles that line the street where Chowchilla High is found, thumbing its nose at the state decision to do away with what some say is the school’s offensive mascot.
During a workshop at a City Council meeting last week, the board’s members asked city staff to develop a plan for the honorary signs, which would hang next to the street’s Humboldt Avenue signs, according to City Administrator Brian Haddix.
Honorary street signs don’t carry the same “governmental stamp” that permanent ones do, he said. The workshop covered options for the signs and took public comment.
Councilman Richard Walker, who was absent from the meeting, said he would “be all for” the signs. “The state should not have passed a law forcing the schools to change,” he said. “I think it’s just simply that we’re trying to hold on to some heritage, and the state has basically told us that we can’t.”
Councilman Dennis Haworth originally floated the idea of “Redskin Way,” according to Haddix. Chowchilla looks to have the honorary signs approved by Oct. 7, which is the beginning of the school’s centennial anniversary, according to Haddix.
School officials did not respond to requests for comment.
California public schools were barred from using the Redskins name for sports teams and mascots under legislation Gov. Jerry Brown signed in October of last year.
Only four schools in California still had teams or mascots that use the controversial name at the time of the signing – Gustine High in Merced County, Chowchilla High in Madera County, Calaveras High in Calaveras County and Tulare Union High in Tulare County.
The California Racial Mascots Act calls for public schools to phase out the team name, mascot or nickname by Jan. 1, 2017.
Assembly Member Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, author of the bill, has called the new law historic. “California is now the first state in the nation to enact a statewide policy to phase out the use of a dictionary-defined racial slur,” he said in a statement.
Dahkota KickingBear Brown, founder and president of Native Education Raising Dedicated Students, has also praised the looming ban on race-based mascots. “I find this victory to be a small progression in the acknowledgment of indigenous rights in California,” he said in a statement.
|Chowchilla News Day
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