Junipero High School Name And Mascot Changed In Effort To Rectify History
Speaker 1: 00:00 After a student led movement, San Diego unified Hoonah pero Sarah high school will now be called Canyon Hills high school. The San Diego unified school board voted for the change this week as the San Diego union Tribune, Kristin to a 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. Joining me is Kristin Takeda K through 12 education reporter with the San Diego union Tribune. Kristen, welcome. Thank you for having me. So students petitioned to not only change the school name to Canyon Hills high school, but to also change the mascot. Talk to me about why this was so important. Speaker 2: 00:41 This was in wake of the black lives matter movement. They felt that the name and the mascot were very offensive to indigenous peoples. The mascot is the cookie Sudar, which is essentially the Spanish conqueror who basically overtook the lands of the indigenous peoples and subjected them to violence and disease, and which essentially wiped out the vast majority of indigenous peoples in that time. Speaker 1: 01:10 Okay. And there were some people who actually felt the name should stay the same. Who were they? And what was their rationale behind that? Speaker 2: 01:16 There have been some Catholic leaders who have pushed back against changes like this. They believe that, well, first of all, Sarah is a canonized Saint in the Catholic church and they Revere him for the work he did and spreading Christianity. And so, um, they also, uh, some Catholic leader. So seeing this as a kind of cancel culture of Sarah, but I think what some of the students told me in response to those kinds of arguments against removing Sarah's name is that even though some people believe like Sarah May have had good intentions in trying to simply spread Christianity to indigenous peoples, the students felt that what indigenous peoples, how they viewed what happened alone is the most important factor that they felt was needed in considering whether to change the school's name. They said, regardless of anyone's intentions and spreading Christianity, the end results of that colonization was that many, many people died or had they've said, had essentially lost their culture. And so those are the reasons why students said that they felt it was important to change the name regardless. Speaker 1: 02:36 And what's been the community reaction to this step and changing the high school's name and mascot to the now Canyon Hills Rattlers. Speaker 2: 02:43 Yeah. So in general, a lot of people are very happy about the change. Um, the change had support from several local indigenous leaders who said that they believe this is going to help with healing from the past, and they believe this will help right history Speaker 1: 03:03 While the Columbia nation has said, they feel the name change will provide a more ethical view of history. Are there any changes being made in the actual history curriculum that students are taught to reflect that as well? Speaker 2: 03:15 Uh, one of the community leaders said that fellow leaders are going to work with the school on, on creating a curriculum like that, that talks about, or that accurately depicts can we, I history and culture. And so, yeah, it does look like that is going to happen along with the name change, which is part of the rebranding of the school that the school wants to do. Speaker 1: 03:40 And the San Diego unified school board didn't stop with changing the name of Huna pero Serra high school. A decision was also made to name a future city Heights campus after the late Reverend George Walker Smith and the board also voted to change the name of Pacific beach joint use field at Pacific beach, middle school to Fannie and William pain joint use field. Why are these particular names so significant? Speaker 2: 04:04 Yeah, so Reverend Smith was the first African-American elected to office in San Diego. He was a school board member. And then for Fannie and William Payne, they were African-American teachers and San Diego. And for William pain, there was this incident where, where he worked at Pacific beach middle school, essentially, there were hundreds of people who petitioned to have him removed from the school in 1945. There were some students at the school today who wanted to change the change, the name of the field to honor him and his wife because they, because they had been part of a racist moment in history. And so they wanted to change the name in order to honor them. And to also kind of similar to what, what the students were trying to do with Sarah high school is to as essentially redressed history and similar things with, uh, naming the future city Heights campus after Reverend Smith. I think in general, what the school schools and the school board were trying to do is to honor people who have made steps to fight for racial justice. Speaker 1: 05:17 Um, and you know, when we look at the larger picture, do you get a sense that this is all part of a reckoning here in San Diego and an effort to tell a more inclusive and accurate history about its path? Speaker 2: 05:28 Yeah, I think that's definitely why the, all these people are making these changes and why the school district is making these changes. They want to have more inclusion and also honor the moments of this history where people have really stood out to moments that embodied racial justice or injustice. Speaker 1: 05:47 I've been speaking with Kristen to Qaeda K through 12 education reporter with the San Diego union Tribune. Kristen, thanks so much for joining us. Speaker 2: 05:56 Yeah, you're welcome.