Guilford School Board Votes to Change Mascot

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The Guilford Board of Education voted Monday to change its mascot from the Indians.

At a special meeting Monday, all nine board members voted in favor of accepting the recommendation to change toe Guilford High School mascot.

Superintendent Paul Freeman had asked the board to put it to a vote. He said he believes the decision to make the mascot the Indians about 70 years ago wasn't intended to be disrespectful, but to be honorific. he pointed to several tribal groups and other organizations that have asked to stop using native mascots.

"I think it has become unavoidably obvious that the reality and offense that is delivered or perceived is substantially more important than the intention that exists behind the moniker," Freeman said.

At a meeting last week, the community voiced strong opinions on the matter. The majority of those who spoke favored changing the mascot, saying it doesn't honor Native Americans and is offensive.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation had sent a statement to Guilford Public Schools pushing for the name change, saying in part, "Native Americans are not mascots, nor should our cultures be misappropriated as such. Race or ethnic-themed mascots or school nicknames perpetuate the stereotypes and racism that harm Native and non-Native students. When schools and sports teams use the term “Indian” as a team name, it implies Native people are of the past as if we’re artifacts - something that’s extinct. For centuries, our ancestors strived to assert their identity, protect our culture and maintain our existence, and we want people to know that we are alive and well, and continue to be an essential part of American society."

Freeman suggested that the entire community be invited to recommend a new school mascot.

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