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Junipero High School Name And Mascot Changed In Reckoning With The Past

The entrance to Junipero Serra High School on June 9, 2017.

Photo by Alexander Nguyen

Above: The entrance to Junipero Serra High School on June 9, 2017.

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After a student-led movement, San Diego Unified’s Junipero Serra High School will now be called Canyon Hills High School and their mascot will now be changed from a conquistador to ... Read more →

Aired: March 11, 2021 | Transcript

After a student-led movement, San Diego Unified’s Junipero Serra High School will now be called Canyon Hills High School and its mascot will be changed from a conquistador to a rattlesnake.

The San Diego Unified School Board voted for the changes during Tuesday's meeting.

As the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Kristen Taketa reported, students say the name of the founder of California’s mission system is offensive to indigenous peoples whose ancestors were subjected to its doctrine.

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"The conquistador overtook the lands of the indigenous peoples and subjected them to violence and disease which essentially wiped out the vast majority of indigenous peoples at that time," said Taketa who joined Midday Edition to talk about her reporting.

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The school board didn’t stop with changing the name of the former Junipero Serra High School. A decision was also made to name a future City Heights campus after the late Reverend George Walker Smith and to change the name of “Pacific Beach Joint-Use Field” at Pacific Beach Middle School to “Fannie and William Payne Joint-Use Field.”

Taketa said the changes are part of a reckoning here in San Diego and an effort to tell a more inclusive and accurate history about it’s past.

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