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Laurel: A Case Of Identity Crisis

Are we Ravens or Cherokees?

I’ve swam at the Sequoia pool since I was six. Literally. Summer age groups as a PCA dolphin through now, as I can additionally strut my Sequoia Cherokee pride.

Wait. Hold it.

We aren’t really the Cherokees. Well we are… we have been since 1895, but recently a controversy spurred as to whether or not having an ethnic group as our mascot was a good idea, so we developed the “Sequoia Ravens”. Somehow it just doesn’t have the same ring.

I have been very against the duel mascot dilemma from the start. I always thought that it was kind of lame how, for some sports, we are dubbed the Cherokees and for others, we are the Ravens. I like to compare us to Stanford University. They are referred to as the “Stanford Cardinal” but the Tree is what dances around to the band and battles off against Oski and the California Golden Bears.

Mr. Raven has a similar task. He runs/walks/lumbers onto the football field for rally games and encourages students who dig for gummy bears in lemon meringue pies. Sometimes when we have activities in the quad, he adventures out and shows his dance moves to the latest hip-hop hits.

The Raven makes the campus a little bit more cool, but still it doesn’t seem as intimidating to beat one's arms like wings and yell “Go Ravens” at the top ones lungs as it does to do a warrior cry and pound ones feet in a stampede with the rest of the student body.

I have some plaid purple pajama pants from Rite Aid. Down the side, Cherokees is written in big white letters and a little cartoon raven decorates the top. I’m not really feeling it. I don’t know how to respond when someone says our mascot is a raven, and frankly, I don’t know how to react if they say it’s a Cherokee either.

I’ve given up trying to correct people when they get it wrong. It isn’t worth it to try and explain. I end up using a lot of hand motions and demonstrations, leaving everyone more confused than they were before.

So the students don’t know, the teachers don’t know, and I don’t think anyone knows where the boundary lines lie on the ongoing mascot dilemma. So please, don’t ask any of us.

We’re in the middle of an identity crisis.

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Merrily February 06, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Fret no more!!! Cherokees past, present and future! FOREVER Cherokees!!! We are not some derogatory terms (indians, redskins, warriors, etc) We are the Cherokees honoring Sequoia! The man and tribe! We may have had and used some derogatory mascots and terms but EDUCATION is the key! RESPECT is important! Keep up the writing Laurel!! I am enjoying your articles and you make me proud of the current Cherokees!
A. February 06, 2012 at 06:46 PM
I'm with you all!!!!!
Lorianna Kastrop February 06, 2012 at 07:12 PM
I have a copy of the Sequoia Union High School District policy regarding this issue. It states "Sequoia High School will be allowed to use the name 'Cherokee' for teams." However, it also states that "...the Cherokee is not the mascot of Sequoia High School. The new mascot selected by the student body in the 2001/2002 school year is the Raven." So, simply, all of the teams at Sequoia are the Sequoia Cherokees. The mascot can be different than the team name, as in the case of Stanford, as Laurel points out, or my other favorite example: Lou Seal, of the San Francisco Giants.
Alice Bollard February 06, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Cherokees forever!
Ken Rolandelli February 07, 2012 at 04:19 AM
Hi Laurel, Having served on the task force some ten years ago that helped resolve the contentious Sequoia mascot issue, I can tell you unequivocally that the name for all teams remains the Cherokees and under no circumstances would the plural, “Ravens” be appropriate. Stanford is the best analogy for what has occurred at Sequoia. The name for the teams is one thing, “Cardinal” and the physical mascot is another, the tree. Hence, at Sequoia, the name for the teams is “Cherokees” and the physical mascot and associated imagery is that of a raven. If “Go Ravens” is indicated on the physical mascot, it is incorrect and should be changed to “Go Cherokees” or “Go Sequoia”. The only difference since the name “Cherokees” at Sequoia was adopted (actually in 1925) is that Native American imagery, physical mascot or otherwise, would no longer be permitted. Ken Rolandelli, President Sequoia High School Alumni Association
Andy C February 07, 2012 at 04:56 PM
So funny how some of you try to mask the push for political correctness as "choice". Yes the students selected Panthers but why were they even asked? Did the admin check with PETA? They might start pushing for schools to drop animals as mascots because the animals did not give consent. To compare Sequoia to Stanford is ridiculous. Stanfords PC culture is the laughing stock of the college sports world.
Noah Dearborn February 12, 2012 at 08:19 PM
So true... Cherokee vs. Mr. Raven? It has to be the Cherokee

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