Controversial Aztec Warrior mascot edging comeback at California university

Aztec Warrior Foundation wants SDSU's support
Posted at 4:15 PM, Dec 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-04 17:15:11-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Some want to revive a disputed history for San Diego State University at the football team’s conference championship game on Saturday.

"What we're trying to demonstrate is the continued support for the Aztec Warrior. A little bit of the anger that we hear,” Patrick Batten, President of Aztec Warrior Foundation, said.

"I hear all the time. So many friends that are older now and their kids and their grandkids, they just love the Aztec Warrior,” Carlos Gutierrez, a former Aztec Warrior mascot, said.

The Aztec Warrior Foundation plans to do that is by bringing Gutierrez in full uniform again back into the stands for that title game.

"We want to show that the Aztec Warrior Foundation has done its due diligence and that we are politically correct and historically correct,” Gutierrez said.

The group is calling on SDSU to bring the controversial character back to the sidelines and the hardwood.

But not everyone is on board with that.

"That symbol is not an accurate reflection of who we are as Native American people. And, we feel it's disrespectful to jump around in a semi-traditional-looking uniform and pretend to be Native American,” Beatrice Zamora-Aguilar, a member of the Kanap Kuahan Coalition, said.

The foundation told ABC 10News that it's consulted with various experts to make sure that uniform is culturally appropriate.

While Zamora-Aguilar understands that there might be school spirit at play, there are other things as well.

"They have to look deeper than that. We have to look beyond that. We have to correct some of the wrongs from the past. And the best to do that is through education,” Zamora-Aguilar said.

Abc 10News reached out to San Diego State on Friday regarding the foundation bringing back the Aztec Warrior on their own.

The university sent the following statement, “SDSU is deeply committed to celebrating and elevating our Aztec identity. As shared in June 2021, the university is beginning a process to develop new Aztec iconography, or images — such as artwork, symbols and other visual elements — as part of its ongoing efforts to honor its Aztec identity. Faculty, staff, students, alumni representatives and members of our Native and Indigenous communities will be involved in the process to develop new Aztec identity iconography.”

There’s hope from the Aztec Warrior Foundation that there can be an open dialogue on all sides,

"Our goal for this game is to have that expression of support demonstrated and that the university can see that,” Batten said.