GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Out of sensitivity to Native Americans, Buckland’s Mohawk Trail Regional School has moved away from the use of the ‘Chief’ logo to Mohawk’s ‘M’ for some time now.
The Local Education Council has since tackled the mascot issue and presented a formal proposal to the School Committee last month.
“This is a hard decision to make. People who have been in the community for a long time feel strongly, it’s an identity kind of an issue. So, we understand where that passion is coming from and then there’s the issue on the other side of the equation, is this an appropriate type of imagery, is this an appropriate name for us,” said Mohawk Trail/Hawlemont Regional Superintendent Michael Buoniconti.
The issue surrounding the use of Native American imagery is now in the hands of the School Committee. There will be three separate votes taking place at next week’s meeting.
Buoniconti told 22News, “Beyond that the scope of the conversation has now increased to the name ‘Warriors’ as well as the name ‘Mohawk’ itself.”
22News also spoke with parents who were frustrated because they were not notified about the additional votes, but they did share a letter sent to students by a School Committee representative that listed each of the decisions in detail.
“I really thought that the vote was only going to be on the mural, and then they proposed two more things in at last minute. And for taxpayers, if they change the name it’s gonna impact us, and I think it’s just an injustice to the community,” said Amy Coates, a Mohawk parent.
“For example, changing all the athletic equipment is going to be a huge financial burden on all of us parents that pay the taxes of these people that are completely disregarding us and our children’s opinions,” added Jessica Bower, another concerned Mohawk parent.
Bower said she also contacted the Mohawk Tribe Council in New York who said they were not made aware of the matter.