Advocates want new mascot at Western High

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) - A group of parents, students, and community members think the mascot of Western High School is offensive and needs to be changed. 

Amaia Marcos is a high school junior of Native American descent. The talented teen is the pitcher of her softball team. When she faces Western High School, something takes her mind off the mound. 

"They're going and doing these stereotypical war cries...the facepaint, the headdresses," Marcos said. "It's just so hurtful." 

Western High School is "Home of the Warriors". Its mascot depicts a stereotypical image of a Native American man that many find offensive. 

More than ten years ago, the American Psychological Association called for schools to stop using American Indian mascots because research showed they caused negative effects on students of all races. 

"If it were a depiction of someone of another race no one would stand for it," said Marcos' mother Mercedes Krause. Krause also sits on CCSD's Indian Education Opportunities Parent Committee. 

Krause and other members of the Native American community recently arranged a series of meetings with leaders at Western High School to address their concerns. 

"The school's administration has decided not to use the mascot at an upcoming school assembly while we continue to have a dialogue," a spokesperson for CCSD wrote in an email to 13 Action News.

"School leaders care about creating a school environment that is appropriate and sensitive to all cultures," the email said. 

Advocates want the "Warriors" name and mascot changed entirely, but some students don't want to break with tradition. 

"It's the home of the warriors, so it would be really weird if it's a different name," said Emily Ortiz, a senior student. 

The Clark County School District will continue gathering input on the matter. Marcos hopes the progress will come in small steps. 

"I think we need to start educating on how it's hurtful because if you don't know, then of course people are going to be resistant," she said. 

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