The long-simmering debate over whether to drop the Dartmouth Indians name and logo for Town of Dartmouth school athletic teams may be coming to a head soon. The special subcommittee on equality and diversity has agreed to conduct a hearing next month to hear what the general public has to say about the controversy.

Several well-meaning residents and so-called experts have offered their view that the name and logo are demeaning to Native Americans and should be replaced. A woman called my show to suggest the teams be named after flowers, animals, or other non-human things. She said to derive names and logos from human cultures or groups of people is insensitive. That is certainly one opinion. Tell that to the New England Patriots.

Members of the Wampanoag of Gay Head Tribe (Aquinnah) want to keep the names and logo. Tribal leaders believe both are used respectfully and in a dignified manner and are not demeaning. The logo, a silhouette of a Wampanoag warrior, was designed by a tribal member in 1974.

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The tribe says the subcommittee heard only from those witnesses who support a name and logo change, including non-federally recognized tribes, and did not seek the opinion of the Commonwealth's two federally recognized tribes. Some Aquinnah say only the tribes with federal recognition should be heard at the public hearing. I disagree.

All Dartmouth residents, and members of tribes with connections to the town, should be heard on this issue whether or not the tribe is federally recognized. The Aquinnah should encourage the subcommittee to listen to all voices with an opinion on this issue.

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 barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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