Last Updated on May 26, 2022
The San Francisco Unified School District announced Wednesday that the word “chief” will be removed from job titles. The district, which serves more than 10,000 students across the city, claims it is insensitive to Native Americans.
“While there are many opinions on the matter, our leadership team agreed that, given that Native American members of our community have expressed concerns over the use of the title, we are no longer going to use it,” district spokeswoman Gentle Blythe told The San Francisco Chronicle in a statement.
“By changing how we refer to our division heads, we are in no way diminishing the indispensable contributions of our district central service leaders,” Blythe added.
The word “chief” does not have Native American roots, as it is originally derived from Latin. In the U.S. it has often been associated with the leader of a Native American tribe, which the San Francisco Unified School District seemingly takes issue with.
In February, three progressive San Francisco Unified School District board members were recalled in a shocking election. The election — which saw the leftist board members rejected by large margins — was the cities first recall since 1983.
One of the ousted board members later blamed her removal on “white supremacy.”
“So if you fight for racial justice, this is the consequence. Don’t be mistaken, white supremacists are enjoying this. And the support of the recall is aligned with this,” wrote former board member Gabriela López in a tweet.
So if you fight for racial justice, this is the consequence. Don’t be mistaken, white supremacists are enjoying this. And the support of the recall is aligned with this. pic.twitter.com/HsYtQjvVeh
— gabriela lópez is always for public schools 🇲🇽 (@lopez4schools) February 17, 2022
Schools in San Francisco will now change titles such as “chief of staff” and “chief facilities officer”, though the district has not confirmed what the replacement names will be.
The changes come as Biden’s Department of Defense will be renaming Fort Bragg, Fort Rucker and other military bases named after Confederate generals.
In February 2022, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) released its plan to remove the “racist and misogynist” term “squaw” from national geographic landmarks. The term has been labeled “derogatory” towards Native American women and will now result in a name change for hundreds of rivers, mountains and numerous other landmarks.
“Words matter, particularly in our work to make our nation’s public lands and waters accessible and welcoming to people of all backgrounds,” said U.S. Secretary of The Interior, Deb Haaland, who is Native American. “Consideration of these replacements is a big step forward in our efforts to remove derogatory terms whose expiration dates are long overdue.”