Montague residents considering question to save “Indians” nickname

Ballot question is nonbinding

MONTAGUE, Mass. (WWLP) – Many Montague residents were upset when The Gill Montague Regional School Committee removed the Turners Falls High School Indians mascot.

They gathered enough signatures to put a non-binding referendum on the ballot. The Montague Police station was one of five different polling locations in Monday’s town-wide election. For many residents, the non-binding question on the Turners Falls High school mascot was the reason they came out to vote.

“I went to Turners all of middle school and high school, I’ve gone here my whole life,” said Teagan Dery of Turners Falls. “The logo means a lot to me.”

The question asks voters if Turners Falls High School should retain the Indians logo, but alter the image.

“For what, almost 100 years people have been cool with this mascot and now all of a sudden everybody is offended, I mean give me a break. What are you going to do, change the Cleveland Indians next?” said Pete Gaines of Turners Falls.

“A lot of people are unaware of our treatment of Native Americans,” said Jeff White of Turners Falls. “In the long run we would be well served to change the mascot because its an issue that is not likely to go away.”

The final decision on the mascot still rests with the school committee.

“This is an advisory vote but it doesn’t have any weight beyond that,” said Montague Town Administrator, Steven Ellis. “It’s simply an opportunity for those members of the community who wish to weigh in on the issue, to do so.”

The Gill-Montague Regional School Committee has not said when they’ll select a new mascot.

22News is covering this story, and will have the results of the vote here on WWLP.com and tonight on 22News at 10:00 and 11:00.

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