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San Diego State University Aztec Mascot Discussion

Welcome to Week 15 and our final Discussion Board of the class. This semester you have been asked to engage with, and have likely found some of your assumptions about the past challenged by, the materials presented in the class. As I often stress, history is a story told about the past in an effort build a desired future. That history is never neutral and it always has some kind of agenda. That is true of the mainstream historical narrative, as well as of the one I teach you in this class, which is why I stress that each of you must become a historian yourself, studying sources and evaluating the importance of those sources and then deciding for yourself what history looks like.

For this final discussion board that is what we are going to try. There are strong institutional messages in the present that argue that “Indian” themed mascots are dehumanizing and dangerous. As examples, the American Psychiatry Association (A sub group of the American Medical Association) has issued official guidance to their membership that Indian themed sports mascots can be a significant factor in low self esteem for Indigenous youth, while the NCAA has banned some sports teams from Bowl and championship play because of their Indian-themed mascots, and yet in many places throughout the United States, including right here at SDSU, these style of mascots persist. The SDSU mascot has obviously been a major source of contention on campus for at least the last 50 years and thus the debate has a long history as the campus forces that wish to retain the mascot struggle with those that wish to retire the mascot. But what should we, the current faculty and students of the University make of this mascot? What should the official policy of the school be toward the mascot? Use the assigned readings –…this week as a jumping off point to explore the history of this controversy and attempt to answer these difficult questions.

Remember that as we are interpreting history this week and thus, there are not “correct” answers to these questions. We will be looking at how well you support your conclusion, so be sure to quote from sources to help show where your thinking is in relation to the other voices in the debate.

You may use additional sources beyond the assigned readings in this discussion board. (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)

(200 words – worth 20 points)


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