The Washington Post: School officials voted to retire a 'Redmen' mascot. A new Republican majority just reinstated it.

Public schools face renewed pressure to eliminate 'Indian' imagery

Public schools in Connecticut are facing renewed pressure to eliminate their "Indian" imagery and mascots.

According to news reports, at least 19 high schools use names like "Indians" and "Chiefs" and even "Redmen." Joe Aresimowicz, the Speaker of the Connecticut House, told The Hartford Courant that it's time for change.

"I think it’s an area where we should have a serious discussion," Aresimowicz, a Democrat, told the paper.

The Mohegan Tribe and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, the two federally-recognized tribes in Connecticut, have long opposed the use of racist, demeaning and stereotypical images in sports. The Mohegans are also against the use of generic "Indian" imagery.

"It is the position of the Mohegan Tribe that the use of American Indian mascots and American Indian named teams be discontinued," Mohegan Chief Lynn Malerba wrote in an email to The New London Day. "While the stated intent may be to 'honor' American Indians, there is great potential for less than respectful behaviors to occur in conjunction with these mascots."

The issue has gained prominence after education officials in Killingly voted largely along party lines earlier in January to reinstate their "Redmen" mascot. The high school had gotten rid of it only just a few months prior.

“They made a mockery of the process,” Aresimowicz, who is a football coach at another high school, told The Courant. “They take the proactive step to change the name, and then in typical reactionary political behavior, they reverted back. And that’s not sitting very well.”

Read More on the Story
Connecticut tribe takes issue with schools’ Indian names (The Associated Press January 27, 2020)
Push against Native American logos, team names reopens question in Montville (The New London Day January 22, 2020)
Connecticut lawmakers will consider banning Native American mascots as 19 public schools continue to use them (The Hartford Courant January 17, 2020)
Officials Called ‘Redmen’ a Racist Mascot. Then Voters Weighed In. (The New York Times January 11, 2020)

Some Opinions
Editorial: Start mascot discussion at the local level (The New London Day January 23, 2020
Mike DiMauro: Can we all pay attention to Chief Malerba's message? (The New London Day January 23, 2020)
Letters: More to the mascots than racism (The Hartford Courant January 23, 2020)
Barth Keck: Killingly’s ‘Redmen’ Mascot: What’s in a Nickname? (CT News Junkie January 21, 2020)

Thumbnail photo of Killingly High School by John Phelan

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