Turners Falls residents at odds about high school nickname

The mascot will be addressed at Tuesday night's school committee meeting.


TURNERS FALLS, Mass. (WWLP)- It’s a matter of cultural sensitivity, or insensitivity.

Turners Falls residents are taking sides on whether to change the high school’s nickname, logo and mascot. This controversy involves the mascot at Turners Falls High School; the Indians. There are two online petitions, one that’s looking to change the name.

“It’s culturally insensitive, especially because this is the sight of a massacre,” said Peter Wackernagel of Turners Falls. “I don’t think the mascot should be glorifying that history.”

That history is the 1676 “Battle of Turners Falls,” where English settlers killed hundreds of Native American villagers. Nearly five hundred people have signed a petition that says using the Indian mascot is insensitive to Native Americans. But many people in Turners Falls insist there’s no connection to the massacre.

“It’s something that’s honoring the Indians that were in this area. It’s nothing that’s derogatory, it’s a proud Indian logo,” said Lew Collins, Owner of Between the Uprights Sports Bar in Turners Falls. “We’re doing nothing that’s trying to offend anyone, we’re just trying to keep the Indian name alive. I don’t believe it should go away.”

Collins is one of more than one thousand who have signed a petition to save the Indian logo. Superintendent of Schools Michael Sullivan told 22News, the mascot will be addressed at Tuesday night’s school committee meeting.

There’s no public forum planned on the issue.

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