Local Indigenous Speakers Call for Education in Third Turners Falls Forum


Two local Native American speakers called for more education during their presentation at the third community event in the ongoing review of the Turners Falls High School’s mascot, currently the “Indians.” Chief Cheryll Toney Holley of the Hassanamesit Nipmuc Nation and Dr. Lisa Brooks, Amherst College professor and Abenaki, touched on a wide range of concerns, including the impact of Native imagery in mascots on Native American students. The school board is currently debating whether to keep the mascot.

Both speakers come from local Native American tribes and touched on the main arguments in the current Turners Falls debate, including the research and studies that show Native American mascots can have a negative impact on Native students.

“A lot of people are saying that you have this mascot to honor us,” Toney Holley said. “It does not honor us in any way.”

Full report  by Miranda Davis in the Greenfield Recorder.


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4 thoughts on “Local Indigenous Speakers Call for Education in Third Turners Falls Forum”

    1. As did I, but I had to make a choice about time spent to best advantage and also to spend enough time at home with family. So torn at times with opportunities and second-guessing myself… I am trying to stay supportive from the sidelines. I would prefer to be more upfront and visible but have to conserve my energy at times.


  1. Rich, this is an important issue that is often marginalized by those who claim to be “honoring Indians.” I’m not sure if you have seen my first blog post. It dealt with my experiences as an advocate on this issue: https://carolahand.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/were-honoring-indians-2/. It might be of some help with the current efforts in Turnes Falls. (By the way, my daughter attended kindergarten there in the mid-1970’s. It was the first time we had to directly confront overt racist discrimination in public schools.)

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    1. Carol, thank you very much for sharing your story. I had not seen that post and was unaware of the depth of your involvement in this issue. There are many similarities between your experience in Milton and what is happening here. The feeling of entitlement in the town, under the guise of “honoring”, and the huge understanding gap, is an uncanny echo. I have shared this with my contacts working on the effort here. I also was not aware that you had lived in this area at that time! Can you tell me a little more about your experience in Turners Falls back then? If you prefer email, I am at rich dot holschuh at gmail dot com.

      Liked by 1 person

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