West Hartford closer to removing Native American symbols from high schools

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — West Hartford leaders have moved one step closer towards pulling all Native American symbols out of the town’s high schools, and the students are still split over it.

Four friends play side-by-side on the lacrosse field with different opinions of if the school board is doing the right thing about Conard’s Chieftain mascot, which is offensive to some. Parent Kim Davis believes the board is heading in the right direction.

RELATED STORY: Will West Hartford replace its high school Indian mascots?

“If we can just keep Chieftain and Warriors as leaders and fighters and get rid of all the Native American imagery and references, I think it is a win for everybody,” she said.

But many students disagree. One class president has reached out to the Pequot and Mohegan tribes asking for their help in designing a mascot that the Native Americans will be proud of. Jack Starr, a student at Conard High School, says the students are working to make things right.

RELATED STORY: West Hartford forum discusses Indian mascot names

“I know that one tribe leader, the Mohegan tribe, said that they were going to help and that they were really up for that,” he said. “They said they were not bothered by the Chieftain name.”

Some parents say they are against the whole thing, anything that has to do with a Native American, because they say while they can teach their child respect, it’s in the bleachers that can be packed out by a visiting team that words start to fly in the heat of the moment. They say it is too much of a temptation. Davis says it’s best to drop all Native American references.

“We do teach them how to behave, but in the heat of the moment you can get so into your team, the opposing, the fans sections, and it gets a little crazy,” said Davis.

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