Killingly Board of Education Chairmen John Burns sent a letter to the school community on Thursday stating Killingly High School would no longer be using the name Redmen nor imagery of Native Americans for its athletic teams, the Norwich Bulletin reported.
The Killingly Board of Education voted last month to have the town’s superintendent of schools seek the opinion of the Nipmuc Tribe on the use of the name and imagery. The board voted it would eliminate the use of the nickname and imagery if the Nipmucs found it offensive.
“Native American mascots, often portrayed as caricatures or cartoons, are demeaning to Native Americans and it is our opinion that they should not be used,” Nipmuc Tribal Council Chairman Kenneth Gould Sr. said in a July 12th statement to the Bulletin. “We do not feel it is appropriate for our culture to be appropriated in this way, or that we should be represented in this way.”
Killingly is the latest school to remove the use of an Indian nickname and Native American imagery. Manchester voted to change its nickname from Indians to Red Hawks last month.
The school district will have open discussion on finding a new mascot, which could be revealed as early as this fall. Changing uniforms and logos from school grounds, including the gym floor, could take longer.
Steven Rioux, superintendent of schools, told the Bulletin Kilingly would wear its present uniforms in football this season, but would move up the purchase of new uniforms one year to 2020. Football uniforms were scheduled to be ordered in 2021.
“Although it was never the intention of the district to be disrespectful to Native American culture, we believe it is time to retire the current KHS mascot and begin a new tradition for KHS,” Burns said in a statement, according to the Bulletin.