BOSTON (WWLP) – There’s another push on Beacon Hill to do away with Native American mascots at public schools.
Senator Jo Comerford is behind a bill in the Senate that received a hearing Monday that would do just that. In western Massachusetts, both Taconic High and Turner Falls High dropped their Native American mascots in favor of something more inclusive. Mohawk Trail Regional also no longer uses Native imagery.
However, there are still plenty of public schools in the state that use Native American language and imagery.
“It’s so clearly that native American mascots perpetuate racist stereotypes which then bubble over into everything else. So everyone is harmed as a result to that, so it’s one step better, one step more forward, towards you know a new day where our schools are safer, places for all and places where everyone can thrive equitably and equally,” said Senator Comerford.
At the hearing on Monday, indigenous people spoke on how their identity is being used.
“We view that as being used as a trophy, look at the savage that we conquered, and it’s not accurate of who we are, it kind of classifies us in specific roles, and it’s not honoring us as many people think it is,” said Faries Gray, the Sagamore of the Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag.
The bill itself would mandate that schools no longer use “names, logos, or mascots” that reference native people. It also goes a step further and bans all mascots that “denigrate any racial, ethnic, gender or religious group.”
This isn’t the only step in making imagery more inclusive, the state also has a working commission to redesign the state seal and motto to make that imagery less offensive as well.