Mascot Fallout: Voters Support 'Indians,' Drop Two School Committee Members

May 16, 2017

The Gill-Montague Massachusetts school committee has a new line-up following an election Monday that also addressed a controversial sports mascot.

In more than a two-to-one margin, voters in Montague supported keeping the "Indians" as the Turners Falls High School mascot.

The referendum was non-binding, however. It does not change the school committee's previous vote to eliminate the mascot, which has been called offensive by many Native Americans.

But in the same election, two new candidates displaced two incumbents on the school committee. The winners were both endorsed by advocates for the "Indians" name.

Vice Chair Sandy Brown -- who voted against the mascot after five months of research -- was one of the members voted out.

"I think change is hard. I think if people had listened, more people would have come around to the way the school committee was," Brown said. "And you know, people are really connected to the football team. That's what they were more concerned about, more than what the school committee function is."

Brown said she does not regret her position on the mascot and hopes the school committee sticks by its decision to choose a new one.