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LIBERTY: Rights & Tolerance | March 1, 2000



An Unpublished Letter to Los Angeles Times

Having graduated as a valedictorian from Arcadia High School in 1974, I read with great regret of the ongoing controversy concerning our "Apache" mascot.

In my experience, the name and character were most often invoked -- in pep rallies, sporting events, publications, and the like -- to inspire "Apache Pride".

As a member of our state-champion marching band, I will never forget the hush and gooseflesh that immediately descended upon the crowds on the street whenever we sounded-off in unison "Pa-TCHEE!"

We at A.H.S. identified with the Apaches just as we from First Avenue Junior High School had with the Spartans and as many of our alumni, at U.S.C., would with the Trojans. These historic warriors were emulated out of respect, not contempt.

I believe current Principal Plourde deserves respect, not contempt, for his having literally gone far out of his way to seek the counsel of an Apache tribe, which I read is itself of two minds on this sensitive issue.

Although I will always look back with pride on my "Apache" memories, if the true Apache people are indeed offended by this application of their heritage, which is their birthright, then it is the responsibility of the rest of us to respect their wishes.

The vast majority of us at Arcadia High School never meant anything but respect, for the Apaches or ourselves.

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