East Bay school defends name change from 'Indians' to 'Warriors'

CROCKETT, Calif. (KGO) -- An East Bay high school won't back down from its new mascot. In February, John Swett High School went from "The Indians" to "The Warriors," but not everyone is happy with the change.

Though the school dropped its mascot last year, the name and image of an arrow still cover the gymnasium floor; a reminder of what many Native Americans consider offensive. Some say the school's new name is no better.

"When they replaced it with a Warriors mascot we were really disappointed," said Tria Blu Wakpa with Sacred Sites Protection.

The group Sacred Sites Protection and Rights of Indigenous Tribes says Warriors just replaces one offensive name with another.

"The way that Warriors are used in sports and mascots is to depict indigenous resistance to colonialism," said Makha Blu Wakpa, Ph.D.

"I know that some of our board members don't see it that way. They see it as an opportunity to represent the spirit of the Warrior," said Superintendent Rob Stockberger.

Stockberger says the district also passed a resolution against violent imagery, so the logo would not include any weapons or insensitive caricatures.

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"It's not going to include a personification of the Warrior," he said. "It will need to be more symbolic."

The call to drop Native American mascots has stretched nationwide.

From the Washington Redskins to the Vallejo Apaches no longer used by the high school.

Before they were Golden State, the NBA Warriors used these logos between the 1940s and 1960s.

The Sacred Sites group would prefer the NBA champs change their name, too.

The John Swett School District might revisit the mascot issue again, but the superintendent says for now they are focusing on education.
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