April 28, 2001

So far, officials from the Burbank Unified School District have

remained tight-lipped about the future of John Burroughs High School's

mascot, the Indian.

It's a curious state of affairs when only two weeks ago the U.S.

Commission on Civil Rights requested the banishment of all Native

American team names from all non-Native American schools. Burbank's

educrats barely made a peep.


OK. So a school board member said the matter warrants further

investigation. She was also quoted in this paper as having said that the

issue is "deeper than just a name." What does that mean?

School officials have reacted as if the request from the civil rights

group for respect of Native Americans was never made. It's as if the era

of civil rights for all Americans never happened, as if Burbank were

stuck in some convoluted time warp that skipped the progressive actions

of those Americans who realized America is a land for all, for all to be

treated with equality and dignity.

Perhaps there are a handful of people who need to be asked their

opinions on the matter. At Burroughs, four students identify themselves

as Native American-Eskimo American.

How do they feel about the Indian? Do they find the Indian outfitted

in an ornate headdress an honor or an affront? And if these students, as

well as other members of the student body, find the mascot offensive,

what's the big deal about changing a name?

It's an absolute embarrassment for this city to continue to trivialize

the religion and heritage of one group of people just because it's been a

tradition. It's disrespectful and insensitive.

Changing a mascot does not change the intrinsic makeup of the hallowed

halls of Burroughs.

Let's change it. Let's change it now.

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