2011-10-19 "Justin-Siena unveils new Braves logo" by Isabelle Dills from "Napa Valley Register" newspaper
Students at Justin-Siena High School, home of the Braves, got the first glimpse of their new American Indian mascot during a special assembly Tuesday in the school gym.
Student leaders and members of the local native Wappo tribe helped unveil the school logo, which features an illustration of the Brave in a cross-armed stance. The costumed mascot will make its first appearance during this week’s homecoming festivities — the exact date is being kept a surprise for students.
“Intimidating” is how several students described the mascot, which reportedly bears an authentic likeness of a Wappo.
“I love the design,” 15-year-old Payton Orr said.
Orr and other students said they liked that their mascot was a person rather than an animal.
“A ‘Brave’ is harder to define,” 14-year-old Sophie Miyasaki said. “It makes us unique.”
Justin-Siena has been without a mascot since the mid 1990s when administrators — worried that the image was offensive — did away with the private Catholic school’s original Native American mascot.
Mishewal-Wappo Tribal Chairman Scott Gabaldon attended Tuesday’s assembly to give his support of the new mascot.
“I always felt if it was done in a respectful way; it can be honorable,” Gabaldon said to the students.
He also helped educate students on how to be respectful of the Wappo tribe during school events.
The tribe did not hold pow-wows that involved drinking or drugs, nor did they use tomahawks, he said. Gabaldon also advised students not to do the type of chanting that involves hitting their mouths, creating a “wah-wah-wah” sound.
“It’s really derogatory and we ask that you refrain from that at school functions,” Gabaldon said. “If you see someone doing it, I hope you will correct them. Consider it your duty to correct them out of respect to the school and the tribe.”
During Tuesday’s assembly, students Lupe Padilla-Aguayo, 17, and Garrett Adair, 18, presented pictures and historical information about the Wappo in terms of customs, traditions and dress.
Padilla-Aguayo and Adair were among the student leaders who researched the traditions and customs of the Wappo tribe to help create the mascot. The students later presented their research to designthis!, a local print and web graphic design studio that created the logo.
One of the biggest design challenges was the Wappo’s “unique” style of headdress, known as a flicker, said Eileen Mize, Justin-Siena’s director of communications. The flicker has small feathers that border the piece as well as a distinctive feathered quill, she said. In the logo, the headdress has six feathers that stick out from the sides, closely resembling the traditional Wappo flicker.
Many different poses for the mascot were considered before deciding on the cross-armed stance, said Kris Yumul of designthis!. One of those poses included the mascot holding a spear, he said.
“We realized we didn’t need to be so literal,” Yumul said. “We liked the cross-armed stance the most because of its quiet confidence.”