Forum participants calls for school Indians mascot to change
DANVILLE, Vt. (AP) — Participants in a Danville, Vermont, forum say its time for the school Indians mascot to change.
The school board heard from more than 20 people who called for the mascot and nickname’s removal during the virtual forum Wednesday night, the Caledonian Record reported. More than 100 people listened to the Zoom call.
“When I think about Danville I think about an inclusive and nurturing community and neighbors helping neighbors. But right now, we have a mascot that is hurting people and they’re asking us to help and hear them,” said Brittney Wilson, a 2004 graduate of Danville School and Gov. Phil Scott’s deputy chief of staff.
Hazen Union School teacher Kay Freedy in Hardwick talked about hosting the Danville Indians at a pep rally. The crowd started chanting “beat the Indians,” she said.
“There were more than a few individuals — both students and adult school community members — who left the gymnasium because they were viscerally impacted by that experience,” she said. “I know no one had any intent of hurting any individuals and yet the impact of those words shook people both with Native American heritage and without.”
Danville senior Autumn Larocque did surveys and found that 80% of the staff and 75% of students wanted the mascot to change, with 53.6% saying they wanted the change if local Native American communities recommend it, which they have.
The school board plans to hold another special meeting on the topic on March 23.