Background on Turners Falls Indians Mascot Review

ccapt. turner monument gill ma

The decision to review whether to keep the Turners Falls High School “Indians” mascot arose from public comment at a spring Gill-Montague Regional School Committee meeting.

The issue was raised at the May 24 meeting by several community members who called for a name change. As a result, school officials this week put the issue on the table – in the form of a proposal that lays out how the committee would go about reviewing the appropriateness of the mascot name, if it chooses to.

A half-dozen Montague and Gill residents called for the committee to change the mascot name at the meeting, which was not reported on at the time, but recorded by Montague Community Television.

Sokoki Sojourn note: in actuality, this story WAS reported at the time, by the Montague Reporter. Review that coverage here.

Read the full article in the Greenfield Recorder here.

The Turners Falls Indians: Not Your Mascot


Another showdown is brewing at Peskeompskut, at the southern edge of Sokwakik and just a few miles down the Kwanitekw. Below are links to the breaking story from area media this week:

The Gill-Montague Regional School District is considering a proposal for a review process of the Turners Falls High School Indians mascot. A draft of the review procedure was heard at the Committee’s Tuesday (Sept. 13, 2016) meeting; in reaction, a petition was begun the next day by those opposed to the considering the change.

Lew Collins, an alumni, is quoted as saying “…he views the mascot as a show of respect, not as something derogatory.”  “It really hurt that something like this could be taken away,” Collins said. “Everything we have, all of our traditions, could be pulled out from under us.”

This is practically a dictionary definition of entitlement… Whose traditions were (and are) summarily removed? It is a measure of the distance from the true nature of this situation that the usurpation becomes the defense. It is hardly even necessary to point out that the mascot graphic itself, rather than paying “homage to the Native American Men and Women who died as a result of the King Philip’s War,’ is a stereotypical portrayal of generic Plains culture regalia – the “ideal American Indian”. It bears no resemblance to the material culture of the indigenous peoples of the mid-Connecticut River valley: the Pocumtuk, the Nipmuk, the Nonotuck, and the Sokwakiak, and their allies present at the 1676 massacre, among them the Wampanoag and Narragansett. This is no tribute; it is a continuation of appropriation, exploitation, marginalization, and denial. Time for a reality check. The times they are a-changin’.