Shelby: Justin-Siena High School in Napa, California has been home to the Braves for more than fifty years. But twenty years ago, the school got rid of the Indian mascot image, while keeping the name, because they didn’t want to offend Native Americans.
“We went without a mascot for many, many years. Several years ago, the students were desiring a mascot.”
Shelby: So, the students decided to learn about one of the oldest, local tribes, the Wappo tribe, and reached out to the tribe’s chairman.
“I got a call from the president of the school asking if we wanted to do this or want to be part of it. I said, ‘sure, why not?’ As long as it can be done in a respectful way and for the eight or nine months we’ve been working on this, it’s been nothing but respect.”
Shelby: See, the controversies started brewing because Native Americans felt some representations of mascots were offensive and made fun of their heritage. The school worked closely with the tribe to come up with this design. It incorporates the seriousness and respect that the Wappo elders wanted. And the students couldn’t be happier.
“We have a new mascot!”
“It’s from the Wappo tribe!”
Shelby: There is also a costume version named Pawa, who made his debut at homecoming.