Mohawk Trail Regional High School considering changing district, team names

Franklin County

SHELBURNE FALLS, Mass. (WWLP) – More than 60 people attended Thursday night’s Mohawk Trail Regional High School committee meeting, and dozens spoke out during public comment.

Mohawk Trail Regional High School and their Warrior mascot have been around since the 60s, and some feel strongly – the name and the mascot should stay.

“Mohawk is not only named in honor of a majestic people, but it is also named after a historic place, the Mohawk Trail. We all come from the Mohawk Trail. We will always be warriors,” Jessica Brower of Charlemont said.

The students in the district come from Colrain, Ashfield, and Shelburne Falls, among other western Franklin County communities, but Rich Holschuh, a member of the Vermont Commission for Native American Affairs came to say the Mohawk Tribe is not a part of this region’s history.

“I represent the Abenaki Tribe. I am a real person. They are real people, they are still here. The Mohawk people are not from here. They are our brothers and sisters and native people, but they are not from here. This is not the Mohawk Trail,” Holschuh said.

Any changes to the school name would require a town meeting vote. Changes could to the “warriors” nickname, meanwhile, could be made at the state level; there is a legislative proposal to prohibit the use of Native American mascots at Massachusetts schools.

Agenda items included a vote to “affirm” and not change the name Mohawk Trail Regional School, changing the mascot, removing a Native American mural in the gymnasium, and a vote on whether recommendations should be made to add more indigenous peoples history to the school curriculum.

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