By Barbara Giasone
The school's spirit club was asked to help quash speculation the 117-year-old campus would replace its Native American identity--a connection that caused controversy and sparked protests nearly 10 years ago.
Instead, a buffalo "spirit symbol" may be added to the school's mascots.
"It's been a long time since we had Willie Ugh (a student dressed in Indian garb) run around the football field doing his tomahawk chop," said Social Studies teacher David Shanebeck, who graduated in 2002. "This is a big deal to get another (costumed) mascot to lead cheers."
Willie Ugh doing his tomahawk chop...love it. Here's a school that can't claim it adopted an Indian mascot to "honor" Indians. How do we know this? Because it accompanied the choice of name with a buffoonish display intended to mock and ridicule Indians. "Willie Ugh's" routine was just like a clown's or a dancing bear's.
For more on the subject, see Carpinteria Warriors Don't Dance and Team Names and Mascots.
Below: "A reminder of Fullerton Union High School's Indian heritage welcomes visitors from the north parking lot as they enter the school quad." (Barbara Giasone, The Orange County Register)
"A painting of the Fullerton Union High School Indians logo on the west wall of the school quad reminds students of their campus heritage." (Barbara Giasone, The Orange County Register)