California State University, Long Beach has killed off its mascot “Prospector Pete” after a group of students and faculty argued that he represented genocide against Native Americans.
The story, which was first reported on by The College Fix, details the pushback against the school’s mascot, which some have alleged has ties to American genocide against Native Americans.
In a statement, university president Jane Close Conoley argued that Cal State Long Beach can no longer use a mascot like “Prospector Pete” given its new emphasis on diversity and inclusion.
“As our diversity grew and more voices were heard, we came to know that the 1849 California gold rush was a time in history when the indigenous peoples of California endured subjugation, violence and threats of genocide,” Conoley said in a statement. “Today, the spirit of inclusivity is reflected in our students, faculty, staff, alumni and community. Today’s Beach is not connected to that era.”
According to the school resolution that ends Prospector Pete’s run as the university’s mascot, the faculty decided that the mascot was inappropriate after pointing out that prospectors were responsible for violence against Native Americans.
“Multiple scholars have cited the California Prospectors, also known as the 49ers, as culpable in violent and genocidal acts against the indigenous people of California,” the resolution reads. “Prospectors in California perpetuated colonization, white supremacy, racism and exclusion ideals not only against indigenous American communities, but also women, people of color and non-Protestant communities.”
In July 2018, the University of Wyoming faced after they introduced the slogan “the world needs more cowboys,” a reference to their mascot. The slogan was called “racist” and overly “masculine” by faculty and students. In November 2017, a Utah high school mascot, the “phoenices” was protested by local community members because it sounded too much like the name of the male sex organ when spoken aloud.