The Gill-Montague Regional School Committee is trying hard to give everyone plenty of time and space to consider the Turners Falls High School “Indians” mascot.
A handful of residents have told the committee they think the mascot is offensive to actual American Indians and is especially inappropriate for a school named after a militia captain known for attacking a Native American village near the Great Falls where present day Gill and Montague come together. The group, led by long-time Montague resident David Detmold, asked the committee to change the mascot name.
Perhaps remembering the protracted debate, animosity and lawsuit triggered by the proposal that eventually changed the Frontier “Redskins” to “Red Hawks,” Gill-Montague school officials are handling their request with utmost care.
Predictably, as soon as word spread that the committee had proposed a process for reviewing the mascot, battle lines began forming, with the traditionalists within a week attracting nearly 1,000 signatures to a petition for the status quo. That was followed by a counter-petition favoring a name change, although, so far, the number of signatories to the newer petition is smaller. And the debate had already been engaged on social media, on The Recorder’s website and in letters.