A Chowchilla high school being forced to change mascot, city council honoring legacy with street signs

CHOWCHILLA, Calif. (KFSN) -- A North Valley high school will soon have to change its mascot but the city hopes to keep the legacy alive with honorary street signs. The city council approved a plan to place Redskin Way signs above the street where Chowchilla Union High School was founded.

After almost a century Chowchilla Union High School's time as the Redskins will soon come to a close by the beginning of next year.

"I'd rather them not change it. It's sad," said Jando Guerra, parent of Chowchilla student.

In a unanimous vote on Tuesday, the city council agreed to place honorary signs on top of the street signs where the school sits along Humboldt Avenue.

"Hopefully it will send a message honoring who we've always been-- who we will continue to be in our hearts even though we have to change the mascot name," said Richard Walker, City Councilmember.

The change comes after Governor Jerry Brown passed a bill banning the name Redskins from high school football teams by the end of this year.

Gustine High School and Tulare Union-- the two other Valley schools with the Redskin name-- have already made the change.

Walker said this isn't about disrespecting anyone, but rather honoring a tradition.

"Since Chowchilla has been incorporated, we've been Redskins. So generation after generation has carried that name proudly and with honor."

Other's feel differently-- the California Valley Miwok Tribe, a federally recognized tribe in the San Joaquin Valley, said it is the meaning behind the word that's disrespectful to Native Americans. They said they are upset the city is trying to find a loophole to the law.

"They're finding a way to skirt the spirit of the bill that's been enacted and trying to find a way around it. What they consider their heritage, but that heritage isn't theirs," said Tiger Paulk, California Valley Miwok Tribe.

The school hasn't commented on when exactly the name will change to and are still asking for mascot ideas.

Walker said signs are temporary and can be taken down whenever the city feels it's appropriate to remove them. They will not be making any changes to the street names.
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