After two weeks of stunts, Dahkota Brown ’20 has been chosen as the new Stanford Tree.
Selected by current members of the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band (LSJUMB), Brown is the first Native American student to be selected as the Tree, the Band’s mascot. Brown competed with three other students — Alex Goodman ’20, Marek Harris ’20 and Hayden Payne ’19 — who also hoped to occupy the position. Brown’s tenure as Tree will last one year.
Per Stanford tradition, Brown learned he had won when he was rolled out by the Band early Saturday morning.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Brown said. “It’s still totally surreal.”
Later that day, he was officially announced as the 2018-2019 Tree during the men’s basketball game against Washington State University. Throughout the game, Brown danced with current Tree Anaxi Mars ’18, as well as former trees Sam Weyen ’18, Michael Samuels ’12 M.S. ’13 and Sarah Young ’17.
After the game was over, Brown donned Mars’ Tree costume to symbolize the passing of the Tree and danced as Tree for his first time while the Dollies chanted, “Out with the old; in with the new.”
“It was really amazing being able to go out there and dance in front of everyone at the basketball game and just kind of go crazy and be myself in the Tree outfit,” Brown said.
As Tree, Brown plans to use his platform to further represent his Native American heritage and increase community awareness “while still being able to rock out and have a good time.”
“Some of the trees that are really important to my tribal community are the oak tree and redwood tree,” Brown said. “I’m thinking about doing either one of those for my Tree design and asking [my community] if they’d be willing to send me any fabrics or prints or designs that they’ve done that I could incorporate into my costume and showcase Native artists.”
Throughout Tree Week, Brown themed his campaign around President Donald Trump by adopting the persona of “Donald J. Stump” and using the slogan “Make the Mascot Indian Again” — a nod to both Brown’s Miwok heritage and the Indian, the Stanford mascot from the 1930s until it was officially abolished in March of 1972.
In his campaign against three other candidates to become the new Tree, Brown spent two weeks camped outside Green Library in a tent nicknamed Mars-a-Lagunita, where he stockpiled cans of Diet Coke and golf clubs. In the second half of Tree Week, he also delivered a mock President’s Day address where he read the names of past Stanford presidents while snorting a series of increasingly spicy powders.
He modeled his other two stunts after Trump’s history as a reality show host. On Wednesday, Brown held a “Miss Stanford” pageant in which he, acting as Donald J. Stump, was the only contestant.
“Full Moon on the Quad, wow,” Brown said during the stunt, in character as Donald J. Stump. “I love it: so many beautiful people. I’m automatically attracted to beautiful. I see people at Full Moon on the Quad, and I just start kissing them — it’s amazing. When you’re Tree, they let you. It’s incredible.”
Last Friday for his finale, Brown orchestrated a mock episode of “The Apprentice” and fired Mars. As Mars’ “final contract” as Tree, Brown asked him to sign his name next to a tattoo of the Tree that Brown had gotten in January before Tree Week even began. Then, in front of onlookers in the Band Shak, Brown’s uncle tattooed Mars’ signature onto his backside.
The second week of the Tree campaign saw additional stunts by other candidates vying for the position. One, dubbed “Lumberjane,” saw Payne — in the guise of Jane Stanford — take an axe to a wooden box labeled “The Patriarchy.”
In another, Goodman, who ran under the theme “Finding TreeMo,” set up a homemade dunk tank in White Plaza to raise money for the Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit focused on marine conservation. Students could pay to throw a volleyball at a target attached to the dunk tank, which would then cause a toilet tank to dump urine onto Goodman.
Contact Erin Woo at erinkwoo ‘at’ stanford.edu.