Turners Falls students protest elimination of “Indians” nickname

School committee voted 6-3 Tuesday night to eliminate nickname

TURNERS FALLS, Mass. (WWLP) – Students marched in protest Wednesday after The Gill Montague Regional School District voted Tuesday night to eliminate the Turners Falls High School mascot: the Indians.

“It shouldn’t have been left up to nine people I believe it should have been left up to the whole town,” said Walter Sokolowski of Turners Falls.

“I think history is now being shown a little more truthfully and people have to react to that,” said Montague resident, Ruby Thorne-Thompsen. “Indians just isn’t’ right to be a mascot.”

Town Administrator Steven Ellis told 22News that the town doesn’t have the authority to change the school’s mascot, and he respects the school committee’s decision.

The Gill Montague Regional School District school commitee voted 6-3 in favor of changing the Turners Falls high School mascot, the Indians. As a result of the decision, students from the school staged a walkout Wednesday and they marched to the administrative offices of the school district.

“We are the athletes and the musicians that have the Indians name,” said Riley Wood, Senior Class President at Turners Falls High School. “For all these people to tell us that we have to change it without asking our input, it’s not cool.”

The students marched from the front of the school to reach the district offices on Montague Street.

“We’re hoping that they will reconsider their decision on changing the mascot because the town, the old timers and us, we really bleed Indians,” said Mason Whiteman, Junior at Turners Falls High School.

Superintendent Michael Sullivan told 22News, he met with the students for about 20 minutes after hearing their views on the mascot. Sullivan said he will attend their next all-school meeting to discuss the topic further.

Sullivan told 22News the school committee wants to give it some time before considering a selection process for a new nickname.

School committee votes to remove Turners Falls “Indians” mascot