Over the past decades, our nation has focused more of our collective attention on the types of mascots used by professional sports and by schools. The hashtag #NotYourMascot has been used to draw attention to the use of cultural identities by those outside of the diaspora for Halloween costumes and figures on the football sidelines.
At La Quinta High School, the Aztec mascot had been traditionally portrayed as a person of indigenous descent who lived in what is now central Mexico during the 13th century. Also known as the Tenochca, the Aztecs spoke Nahuatl from which we adopted words such as chile, avocado, chocolate, coyote, peyote, guacamole, and mescal. There was a need to reimagine the LQ mascot which honored its Aztec name without disparaging the people whose cultural roots trace back to this civilization. Enter senior Aidan Phan.
Aidan, an Advanced Placement Studio Art student, looked at Aztec relics, artifacts, and mythology to create a mascot for a new age, one that borrowed the traits of the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl and became a spirited symbol of the high school. His AP Art peers under the guidance of teacher Trang Mai critiqued each phase of the project before presenting the image you now see.
The Aztec Influence