Wampanoag Tribe to Dartmouth: Don’t Erase the Indian Logo
There's certainly no ambiguity when it comes to either keeping or losing the Dartmouth Indian emblem.
"People are either for or against it, with hardly any fence sitters," said Attorney Sean Carney, a tribal member himself.
Carney said the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), the first federally recognized tribe in the Commonwealth, admires and respects the Dartmouth Indian.
"This is a logo, and not a mascot, that has always been held in the highest regard. It doesn't have anything that's negative or derogatory," he said.
Carney said unlike other recent news stories about the changing of Indian likenesses or names for Cleveland's pro baseball team or Washington, D.C.'s pro football team, there is no major outcry to change the logo here.
"The situation we have in Dartmouth is one of a kind and differs from any other case in the state or the nation, because there's overwhelming support by Dartmouth residents who admire the logo," he said.
It was Carney's uncle, Clyde Andrews, who created the current Dartmouth Indian, after a previous version "was of a Western-style American Indian, with a long feathered headdress, that didn't really look like the Eastern Native American," he said.
Who are the people opposed to keeping the Indian depiction?
"A small portion of the school committee, non-Natives, and people who don't share the Native American culture, are basically the ones complaining," Carney said. "In the same way, like-minded people hesitate calling us Indians, but that's what we are. We're American Indians. Sure, you can say Native American, but American Indians were the original stewards of the land prior to the Europeans coming here."
Perhaps there needs to be a powwow with the Wampanoag Tribe and Dartmouth residents.
"Our tribal government supports the Dartmouth Indian iteration, and we want to form a partnership with Dartmouth to educate, to inform, and to talk about the history that the logo represents," said Carney.
Tribal Council Chairwoman Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, a Dartmouth High School graduate, sent the Dartmouth Select Board a letter of support for the logo, that in part said, "We do not wish to be erased from today's contemporary life, society or social existence; or to be relegated into history, as if we have vanished."
Speaking of powwows, which means to have a quick meeting, Carney has an invitation for you.
"Please show up at a powwow that's open to the general public. You don't have to be Native American to attend. People from every background are welcome," he said. "Come learn about and celebrate our culture with us. But please, when it comes to issues like the Dartmouth Indian logo, do not think that we need anyone to speak on our behalf."
Dartmouth voters will cast their ballot for this non-binding question on April 5.