Javier Gonzalez, Opinion Editor

For as long as anyone can remember, Sanger High School has maintained the name “the Apaches.”
It holds a long tradition for our school. However, the usage of the Apache as a representation of our school shouldn’t be accepted as its origin lies within Native American people not a high school campus.
Our logo and identity should revolve around the town’s history. Sanger High’s historical significance can be found in the fact that the community of Sanger is a former logging town as well as the Christmas Tree City. If our school were to reconsider its representation, it should be reflected on both the town and people who live here.
Historically, the Apache Tribe had not originated in California, but other states such as Arizona, Texas and New Mexico. In fact, a large sum of the Apache Tribe had not migrated to California until the 1950’s post WWII era.
In fact, the Native American tribes which had originated in California are the Yokuts, Miwok, Maidu among others.
A current example of the reversal of a name is Yokuts Valley (formally named Squaw Valley). Yokuts meaning “the people,” and it was changed because these tribes have a historical significance with the state and our area.
For Sanger High to represent itself by using a tribe that historically wasn’t based in California doesn’t make sense in relation to our community.
On October 11, 2007, the Lipan Apache Band of Texas had thanked Sanger High for the use of the Apache mascot, the relationship being that some of the members of the band had actually migrated in the Fresno and Sanger area. I’m not sure how many are still residing in the area and I wonder if they are still “thankful” that the school uses the Apache moniker.
A few years ago, Sanger High stopped using the logo depicting an Apache tribesman head, but the school kept the identifying name. Some people in the community argue we use the Apaches name with nods of respect and that we are strong warriors much like those of the Apache tribe. However, the more common way to refer to a school and or team is with an animal. For example, teams are called the Bears, Wolves, Eagles etc.
Using animals as mascots are less emotional because they still show strength but they aren’t representative of people. By extension, calling ourselves the Apaches denies the emotional aspect of a person and then compares the Apache to an animal.
If Sanger High were to change its name, it should instead reflect the place of origin. Could we consider the “Timbers,” “Loggers” or “The Lumberjacks.” The Apaches are not a true representation of what Sanger and Sanger High truly is.