Hart High School’s Characterizing Mascot Finally Gets Removed

Brooklyn Stevenson, The Scroll, Staff Writer

After a 4-1 vote by the Hart Union High School District that took place on July 14th, 2021 in Santa Clarita, Hart High School must replace their mascot by the year 2025. Since 1945, the Indians have been the Hart High School mascot. Since the school was founded, the mascot has brought controversy as it does use a Native American as a character. But after years of debate, a decision was finally made to change the mascot. 

In the context of a mascot, caricaturing is turning a person or an animal into a character like form. Usually mascots have a distinct illustration to make the image recognizable. The issue with characterizing Native Americans are the illustrations added to make the image recognizable which often include stereotypical or racial characteristics. This change brought many heated remarks by the Santa Clarita community, some people believe the mascot honors Native Americans and the fact William S. Hart was a huge advocate for Native Americans while others see it as disrespectful because Native Americans are humans and not characters.

Native Americans unfortunately still experience mistreatment from society. Stealing their land, forcing them into slavey, and being characterized as mascots Native Americans have constantly faced hardships. Native Americans are human beings and deserve respect and equal rights. Society should be educated on the atrocious mistreatment given to Native Americans and how misrepresenting these people by characterizing them increases the issue. The Native American culture is quite sacred and should be respected as well as all the other cultures that exist in the world.

Native American tribes are extremely opposed to being turned into mascots. For years, they have protested about the characterizing of their culture and how they feel misrepresented. While they were able to make their voices heard, some professional sports teams like the Washington Football team,which was formerly known as the Redskins, changed their mascot after years of offending Native Americans. Even though many agree that mascots containing Native American characters are wrong; however, some people believe there is no issue with

these mascots. They believe that some of these mascots honor Native Americans, or people need to stop getting offended so easily even though misrepresentation is a serious issue.  

Unfortunately, this is not the first time a school had to remove their mascot for racial issues. According to the Daily News, some other schools in California include:

  • Birmingham High School changing from the Braves to the Patriots in 1998;
  • Alemany High School changing from the Indians to the Warriors in 2006;
  • John Burroughs High School changing from the Indians to the Bears in 2020;

  Native Americans are not the only nationality that constantly gets misrepresented or characterized. Other nationalities include African Americans(some old television programs have portrayed African Americans as slaves), Asians(characters are given very slanted eyes and some even talk with a very strong accent), Hispanics(stereotypical characteristics and personality traits), Hawaiians ( people dressing up as hula dancers for fun), Middle Eastern(mocking them as terrorists), and so many other heritages. Many of these heritages get horribly mocked in television shows or movies as well as costumes. 

Humans are not meant to be mascots and horribly misrepresented. Especially people with sacred cultures that unfortunately get turned into stereotypical and racist mascots. Members of the Hart High School student body have worn feather headdresses to mimic the mascot and made very disrespectful hand gestures.While it is true that the Hart High School mascot is one of the oldest school mascots to exist in the valley, this mascot has also offended many people and even students who are of Native American heritage. This is a change that should have happened much sooner rather than now, but thankfully the change has been made and Santa Clarita can help bring this change into society.