September 5, 2001
Braves, Warriors, Chiefs. To some, these school mascots signify a prideful sports tradition in honor of the American Indian culture. The American Indian community disagrees. The Burbank Unified School District's school board has severely disserviced our youth by ignoring an effort to stop the use of Native American mascots in its schools. By refusing to establish a committee to address the John Burroughs High School Indian mascot, the school board has missed a valuable opportunity to lead their children by example.
May 30, 2001
I am writing concerning the recent letters that condemn the use of an American Indian as a school mascot. Many letter writers are offended because they see the American Indian mascot as the singling out of a racial minority by a bigoted society. They also see the Burbank Unified School District as dishonoring these American Indian people. I can assure you that nothing is further from the truth. In her May 16 letter, Stephanie Saucedo writes, "Native Americans are the only ethnic race to be widely used as mascots for fun and games in this country."
June 16, 2001
As a Burroughs grad and an American Indian, I was very proud of our mascot. Never once did I look at it other than what it was, a powerful warrior. I could see being upset if the mascot was some kind of cartoon character. It's not. The Indian that I wore on my uniform was a proud man. In my three years at Burroughs, this was never an issue. In reading the letters the Leader received, I agree with Mel Wolf. Will we have to change all school mascots because it offends someone?
June 9, 2001
Jim Thorpe, an American Indian, is considered one of the greatest all-around athletes who ever lived. He first achieved fame in the 1912 Olympics, where his achievements received worldwide acclaim. The John Burroughs High School mascot is an Indian, and it was never meant to represent any specific person but, rather, to inspire, unify, motivate and, most of all, instill pride into students, faculty, family and friends. The concept of the mascot, design and emblem dates to the early 12th century Europe and the beginning of the coat of arms as a means of identification with royalty and, in particular, the Scottish clan with their bright colors and individual design.
August 4, 2001
The article and controversy I recently read in the Burbank Leader to keep or to take away the Indian symbol mascot at John Burroughs High School has prompted me to write. As a 55-year resident of Burbank, neither I nor anyone I know ever realized that the Indian mascot was a racist symbol. We have been misled all these years into thinking it stood for pride and honor of the American Indian and our country's heritage. It should be taken out; therefore, we can destroy and forget a beautiful part of our land's history.
October 6, 2001
The John Burroughs High School Indian is not a mascot, does not honor the American Indian culture and is not a stereotype. It is simply a tribute of recognition to the native people of our beloved country. Period. The students, faculty and administrations present and past are all collectively Burroughs Indians. My wife, her sister and our three daughters are Burroughs graduates. They are proud to have attended and matriculated from John Burroughs High School.
August 17, 2001
I don't think the John Burroughs High School Indian mascot was ever intended to be an insult. And knowing several of the current supporters to be some of the highest quality people in the city, I furthermore will never believe they purposely wish to denigrate a race. But that still doesn't make it right. Believe me, dignity and self esteem are VERY important issues in the American Indian community today. This not a political correctness joke. They are fighting for their lives, perhaps even more intensely than they did 130 years ago. I know what insults me. You know what insults you. But once you try to define what insults someone else, you're getting into an extremely fuzzy gray area.
August 25, 2001
Gary Moskowitz BURBANK -- Eugene Herrod is pleading with Burbank Unified School District board members to view John Burroughs High School's use of its Indian mascot as a moral issue. So far, the board's not buying it. Herrod, a board member of the Southern California Indian Center, wrote a July 24 letter to school board President Elena Hubbell stating that the school's use of the Indian mascot is a "mockery" of the American Indian community, inappropriate imagery for children and an educational and moral issue that cannot be ignored.
November 24, 2001
The Burbank Unified School District administration has scored a double whammy with its plan to create a committee of students to deal with the Burroughs High School mascot issue. Administration officials not only are deflecting criticism from the administration and school board and dumping it in the students' direction, but also assuring that nothing of substance will be done about the problem for the foreseeable future. In short, it's a copout. The committee is being formed in response to several complaints, from American Indians and other members of the community, that Burroughs' Indian mascot is racist, reinforces negative stereotypes and has no place in a 21st-century school.