CT Schools Can Seek Financial Penalty for Having Native American Mascots
Connecticut's Native American tribes have made it clear to towns and their sports teams that the use of their nicknames is terribly offensive. However, a report from WTNH TV states that at least 12 towns in Connecticut have continued to use Native American names and images while seven Connecticut schools have changed the names of their mascots.
Why should this be a concern for Connecticut towns and cities that have not made that change? According to state officials, Connecticut Native American tribes every year contribute more than $50-million in funding to area towns and cities.
The Mashantucket Pequot/Mohegan Fund gives out grants to almost 169 cities and town that varies from thousands to millions of dollars. For example, in 2021, Danbury has received $678,938, and Newtown has welcomed $829,000. The amounts are based on several factors.
To get to the root of the issue, I searched for the reason(s) as to why Native Americans find Native-themed mascots offensive. I found a letter written to the Watertown CT Board of Education by Rodney A. Butler, Chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation regarding their "Watertown Indians" name and mascot. In the letter Mr. Butler writes;
Native-inspired mascots and nicknames are harmful and dehumanizing to Native people and mock our cultures. Watertown Indian supporters insist that it's intended to honor Native Americans but we do not feel honored. Native youth should not have to encounter racism under the guise of school spirit while pursuing an education.
To read the entire letter, click on static1.squarespace.com. According to an article in the Hartford Courant dated June 15, 2021, some of the schools that are in danger of restricted funding because they have retained Native American mascots are Derby (Red Raiders), Nonnewaug (Chiefs), (Red Raiders), Wamogo (Warriors), Wilton (Warriors).