Remove the Apache emblem from Arcadia High School
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Arcadia High School (AHS) is one of the most prestigious public schools in the United States, with an incredible body of both students and faculty. The school has been a champion of diversity, with an impressive body of students, extracurricular activities, and community engagement. So why does Arcadia continue propping up their racist Apache emblem?
The City of Arcadia’s official emblem is the peacock, which famously walk freely around the city. Yet, AHS has stuck to an Apache emblem. This is not a way to honor Indigenous peoples, nor is it preserving their history— rather, this “noble savage” imagery contributes to the subjugation and compartmentalization of Indigenous peoples.
Co-opting the likeness of an oppressed group is dehumanizing and contributes to ethnic stereotyping. The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) has expressed that the use of the "Indian" as a sports mascot has "very real consequences for native people. Rather than honoring Native peoples, these caricatures and stereotypes are harmful, perpetuate negative stereotypes of America's first peoples, and contribute to a disregard for the personhood of Native peoples." Since 1968, the NCAI has been working to put an end to the use of these symbols in media and pop culture. AHS has taken steps towards this progress, but has not taken full measures to completely remove this imagery from the school.
AHS makes a (well-earned) profit from its student body while using the iconography of Indigenous peoples, who largely suffer from poverty and marginalization. 22 percent of Indigenous Americans live in poverty, and most reservations severely lack resources (such as healthcare, employment opportunities, substandard housing, and an inadequate economic infrastructure) that propagate the cycle of poverty. For 8,000 years, the land we now call Arcadia belonged to the Tongva peoples (who prefer the name Kizh). Spanish colonization of California in the late 1700s began the process of forced relocation of the Kizh peoples to Arizona and Nevada.
Attempts have been made in the past to remove this emblem, which has been mitigated with choice removals of certain aspects of the school and an annual fundraiser for the White Mountain Apaches. This simply is not enough.
The atrocities committed against the Indigenous population of the United States demands serious reparations, and eradicating this imagery is the first step. AHS has made great strides towards removing some of this imagery and engaging with the White Mountain Apaches, but it is important to continue moving ahead.
Please add your signature to bring this matter to the attention of the Arcadia High School administration. We would like to encourage Arcadia High School to remove this insensitive emblem from our school and replace it with one that is more appropriate to both the city and the history of the land we occupy.
We would like it to be clear that the wonderful initiatives and programs AHS sponsors to provide assistance to the WMAT community should continue. In addition to these programs, Arcadia High School should implement a mandatory course in Indigenous history and current affairs to truly foster a relationship and understanding with the Apache peoples.
Note: please do not donate to Change.org if you would like to support the White Mountain Apaches. Please follow this link instead to provide COVID-19 relief for this community, and for further information on COVID-19’s affect on Navajo Nation, read here.
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