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De Anza College group petitions for name change

De Anza College
Wikimedia Commons
De Anza College

A group of faculty, staff, and students, called the De Anza Name Exploration Committee, first circulated their petition for a name change after a campus speaker event last month about the history of the school’s namesake.

Juan Bautista de Anza was a Spanish military officer, who established a mission and a presidio, or military settlement, in the area in the 18th century.

Among the speakers at the event was Quirina Geary, who is chairwoman of the Tamien Nation, the tribe indigenous to Santa Clara County. She shared portions of De Anza’s journals, where he wrote that indigenous people “scarcely appear to be human beings.” He described the violence he and other military officers committed against the Tamien.

Geary said that most people don’t know De Anza’s history and wouldn’t support such brutality.

This isn’t the first change for De Anza College. Last year, they changed their school mascot from ”the Dons,” a word for Spanish royalty, to “Roary” the Mountain Lion.

The group plans to continue collecting signatures with a goal of presenting the petition to President Lloyd Holmes, the board of trustees, and Chancellor Lee Lambert.

Sheryl Kaskowitz is a fellow in KALW's Audio Academy. Her beat is arts and culture in public spaces.