Dahkota Brown was no different than any other Argonaut High School football fan that night.


But as he entered the Calaveras High School football stadium, he received a message nobody else did.


"Somebody needs to hunt that kid down and skin him," Brown, then an 18-year-old senior, said he heard the elderly lady at the ticket booth murmured. This was the moment Brown said he had feared. But it was the cost of defending his culture and speaking for social change.


Brown loved playing football in his youth, then in high school at Argonaut. He never felt proud to play at Calaveras.


Brown is Native American, a member of the Miwok tribe located near Elk Grove. As a child he questioned Calaveras’ "Redskins" moniker. He was confused why its cheerleaders wore fake leather dresses supposed to look like traditional regalia. Experiencing it as a football player years later was even worse.


"Being out there knowing that there would be people basically making mockery of my culture and my people," Brown said in a telephone interview. "It kind of took the fun out of it knowing I was going to be exposed to hate, slurs and that kind of stuff."


Brown became an essential voice that helped pass Assembly Bill 30: California Racial Mascots Act in 2015, which prohibited public schools such as Calaveras from using the term Redskins as a school or athletic team name, mascot or nickname, becoming the first state to do so.


"The first thing I thought of was all the elders and people who had been fighting for this for almost 70 years," Brown said. "This was a huge victory for a lot of our native elders."


Calaveras was one of four schools in California affected, which also included Tulare Union, Chowchilla in Madera County and Gustine in Merced County. Locally, Ripon, known as the Indians, remains the only high school in the San Joaquin County area with a mascot referencing Native American culture.


"I had seen all the work that my elders had been putting in for decades and decades before me working on this issue," Brown said. "To finally see some of it come to fruition, the fact that it wasn't just a matter of opinion, it was law."


Five years later Brown, now 21, witnessed historic progress again, this time on a national stage. Earlier this month, the Washington NFL team announced it would drop its name and logo. Brown called it a "victory" for Native American people, and he was proud to be a cog in its occurrence.


"In that moment I was just honored to be a little piece of that," Brown said. "I put my voice in the fight as much as I could and it was good knowing I was on the right side of history."


Brown partnered with Assemblyman Luis Alejo, who sponsored AB30. The bill was passed on Oct. 11, 2015, by former Gov. Jerry Brown.


According to his mother, Toni, Brown faced threats. He would get approached in public places like grocery stores and his truck was vandalized. All for standing up for what he believed was right.


"If you ask him, he would do it again because the facts are Native students suffer the worst statistics in school and have said having their culture mocked or misunderstood played the biggest part of them not wanting to go to school," Toni said in a Facebook post.


Since AB30 passed, Brown has continued to use his voice against cultural appropriation. Most recently, in September, he and other Native American students at Stanford, where Brown attends college, helped change the names of numerous buildings on campus, as well as the school’s main road for being named after Father Junipero Serra, who founded the California mission system in the 18th century.


Though AB30 banned the "Redskins" moniker in California, the law did nothing in regards to imagery or logos, which Calaveras still uses with a Native American wearing a traditional headdress, and Ripon using a dream-catcher. Brown wants that changed as well.


"It comes down to the imagery of just being dehumanizing, demoralizing," he said. "It just allows people to make a mockery of a culture and a whole ethnic group."


With Washington’s change, Brown said he hopes the NFL team can serve as an example for school’s and sports organizations around the nation to follow suit.


"The fight is not over," Brown said. "This is just a really big victory in the battle that we keep fighting."


Contact reporter Justin Frommer at (209) 546-8272 or jfrommer@recordnet.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinbFrommer.