Dartmouth Indian Name and Logo Debate Intensifies [OPINION]
The Dartmouth School Committee and its appointed Equality & Diversity Sub-committee need to do a much better job gauging public sentiment concerning proposals to change the Dartmouth Indians name and logo.
Dartmouth's Board of Selectmen is calling on the school committee to "engage the public" in a "more transparent review" of the name and logo controversy "by soliciting public feedback from the community in an open forum." In an August 9 letter, select board members stated the School Committee should also engage with members of the two federally recognized tribes in the Commonwealth: the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.
Tribal leaders said the process has been closed to all but a few select individuals who share the opinions of sub-committee members that favor a name and logo change. Plans for an inclusive public hearing collapsed earlier this month when committee members decided to continue to meet remotely. Incidentally, no Native Americans were invited to serve on the sub-committee.
The tribes said the Equality & Diversity Sub-committee has "failed to present a full and accurate account of the history of the Dartmouth logo" and has neglected to identify the 1974 creator of the logo, Clyde Andrews, as a member of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah).
Read the letters: Dartmouth Indians Review Letters
The logo is a respectful depiction of a young Wampanoag Indian. The Wampanoag once inhabited this region until displaced by white European settlers. Now, a handful of the descendants of those white European settlers want to displace the Wampanoag again by replacing the logo and Indian name. I believe the idea of a name and logo change is not supported by most in town and certainly not by the Wampanoag people.
Let's convene a town-wide public forum as quickly as possible and give all town residents, as well as the Wampanoag people, a chance to be heard and resolve this matter once and for all.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.