Turners Falls school board to review mascot

  • The Turners Falls Indian mascot displayed on the box office outside the football field at the high school and Great Falls Middle School on Turnpike Road in Turners Falls. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

Recorder Staff
Published: 9/13/2016 10:46:14 PM

TURNERS FALLS — Are the days of the Turners Falls High School Indians mascot numbered?

The Gill-Montague Regional School Committee opened debate on the issue Tuesday night with a plan for a review of the mascot and the possible adoption of a new one.

According to school district and committee officials, several local community members have reached out to the district about changing the mascot.

The plan presented at Tuesday’s meeting would allow for an information-gathering process where members of the community can submit information about the topic to the committee. It would also include public forums, new mascot ideas submitted from the public and then a possible selection process for a new mascot.

In the outline released by the district ahead of the meeting, school officials encourage dialogue about the issue.

“Whether or not the outcome of this process is a mascot name change, it is our hope that by engaging in a thoughtful community dialogue we will all learn from one another and build trust and confidence in our ability to work together on a complex social topic of common interest,” the release said.

School Committee Chairman Mike Langknecht said that if the plan is approved, the process would probably take up to a school year, but that they weren’t putting a specific time frame on the review.

The review process would include cost considerations of the change, and final action would rest with the committee.

Questions about the mascot come at a time when concerns about a lack of appreciation for local Native American culture have come to the forefront in Turners Falls.

The town is currently conducting a battleground mapping and study, with a $60,000 grant from the National Park Service and an eventual goal of creating a cultural resource center in the town about the battle known as Falls Fight or Peskeompskut Massacre.

The study was brought about because of community concerns about the lack of understanding of the area’s indigenous population’s history.



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