16 replies on “State Budget Provision will Withhold Funds from Towns with Native American Mascots — Including Wilton”

  1. It’s a little hard to argue that ‘Warriors’ refers to Achaeans or Trojans when in most cases there’s an obvious Native American spear in the middle of the logo. Maybe a Trojan sword would be more convincing.

    But there’s still the problem that the Warrior’s theme is lifted from the 50’s children’s cartoon ‘Pow-Wow the Indian Boy’. That seems more egrerious to me.

  2. Oh please!! Lifted from “Pow-Wow” … ??? Warriors and a Native American spear … ?? My bet is that less than 5% of Wiltonians or Connecticut residents would make either of those connections.

  3. The connection with the spear is pretty obvious. Remember the town is arguing that it’s referring to ‘ a Greek or Trojan warrior’ and then uses an image that’s clearly Native American. Their rationalization rings pretty hollow.

    As for Pow-Wow, it was on Captain Kangaroo in the middle 50’s so a lot of children would have seen it. It’s true that no one younger than 68 would remember it in the original version. But most of the episodes are now on You-Tube so it’s easy to stumble across. And anyway, so what? What percentage of the population knew what ‘squaw’ meant before a couple of years ago?

  4. It’s long overdue that we reconcile the harm done by these symbols and tropes. I encourage Dr. Smith and the town to find in their hearts the willingness to have compassion for our indigenous brothers and sisters and be accountable to change.

  5. How, exactly, will Native Americans be better off if Wilton (or any other town) changes the name of their mascot?

    And why doesn’t anyone think that having Native American names or imagery is a TRIBUTE, rather than something that’s automatically derogatory? (Tons of schools are named after Washington and Lincoln…is that offensive to those people? Of course not. So why is this different?)

    1. Why isn’t it seen as a tribute? Because it’s a slap in the face to anyone with Native American blood. Europeans invaded an existing society and destroyed it by slaughtering families and stealing their land, and then calling their victims the savages. Whites have profited for generations by the seizing of that land (then using free labor/slavery to develop it) and haven’t made a dent in reparations to offset the enormous damage done. Using the word “warrior” is not a tribute. It is an insult on top of centuries of injury.

  6. I think your comparison to Washington and Lincoln is misplaced. In one case it’s memorializing men who are revered by most (sane) Americans. The other is a group of people whom we displaced and largely annihilated.

    I largely agree with you that it’s a tribute. But there’s a fine line between that and ‘cultural appropriation’, and reasonable people can disagree on whether it crosses the line or not.

    The song, on the other hand, seems to me clearly offensive, since it references an infantile portrayal of a person from another culture, one that, as I said, we displaced and annihilated.

  7. The main reason why this should be changed is that Native Peoples have been consistently asking us not to use these symbols as they don’t see it as a tribute. Isn’t this enough?

  8. Jen W and Tom Wild, the facts don’t align with your opinions. This famous poll says that 90% of actual Native Americans don’t care. (And this was about the name “Redskins” which I suspect most would argue is more offensive than “Warriors”.) Also, if you read the whole article, one of the people polled said she was proud to have a team named after her people. (As I noted above…it’s a tribute.)


    You might say, “Ha! We are right because they eventually changed the name.” Fair point, but I’ll note again that Redskins is not the same as Warriors. And I simply do not think “Warriors” should be automatically linked to Native Americans. Merriam Webster defines the word as: ‘A person engaged or experienced in warfare’, or more broadly, ‘a person engaged in some struggle or conflict.’ Also, ‘a person who fights in battles and is known for having courage and skill.’ Those definitions are all positive. And nowhere in the definition is there any mention of Native Americans.

  9. Publius. I’m sure you are aware polls are notoriously problematic. Here is one that contradicts the Washington Post one:


    So who is right? Well neither of us. This isn’t a right or wrong issue. Its an issue of listening. Listening to our Indigenous Neighbors in CT who are telling us through their leaders that the use of Native American imagery is hurtful and should not be part of a town or school culture. Even if this is an honest tribute, as you say, wouldn’t you stop what your are doing if those you were celebrating told you to stop?

  10. That was 2016, this is now, five years later. Another poll would be informative. There are many examples of group designators used thoughtlessly which turned out later to be quite offensive.

    And the survey looks inconsistent anyway. 7 in ten say the ‘Redskin’ is not disrespectful. 8 in 10 would not be offended if they were called that by an outsider, but 9 in ten say it doesn’t bother them. That looks upside down to me.

    and definitions aren’t the only signifier of meaning. You can quote all the definitions you can find, but when a Native American spear is a central element in your logo, The logo refers to Native Americans, not anyone else. Whether it’s offensive may be another question, but the meaining is clear.

  11. It was five years ago…not fifty years ago. It is absolutely relevant today. Poking holes in the poll itself is your prerogative, but this was the Washington Post (as left-wing as they come) so saying it’s inconsistent and ‘looks upside down’ is really just you saying that you disagree with facts because they don’t fit your narrative. (Nice try, though.)

    I’m fine taking the feather away from the logo. If that will appease the (exclusively white) folks who are bothered by it, fine. But the name “Warriors” should stay. The link to Native Americans and “Warriors” is tenuous at best, so just leave it alone.

  12. Yes, it was five years ago, as I said. These days five years can cause a big change in public awareness of an issue. Also, Mr. Wild’s link is a rebuttal to the poll’s findings, and is much more current.

    I think you missed what I was saying about the poll, so let me clarify. 30% (100%-70%) think that the name ‘Redskins’ was disrespectful to Indians, so that means 2/3 of those people don’t care that it was disrespectful. 20% say they would be offended if a non-native called them a ‘RedSkin’, so half of them don’t care. Why would you not care if it was disrespectful? And a fortiori why would you not care about being called a name that offended you? Wouldn’t you wonder about a poll that had those results?

    There might be other possibilities between ‘feeling it was disrespectful ‘ and ‘not feeling it was disrespectful’ or ‘being offended ‘ and ‘not being offended’, but those gradations woiuld have to be clarified , and WaPo should have done that, I stick by my judgement. And in any case, the link Mr. Wild posted does a much better job of rebutting the significanced of the Post poll. nice try, though.

    Wilton has more and more logos that don’t have any spear at all. I think that makes the link you mention tenuous enough, and I wish they’d do more of it. But just getting rid of the feathers doesn’t break the link.

    Shouldn’t we just call it a day on this topic?

  13. The larger issue as far as I’m concerned is why we’re glorifying war, regardless of whether the warriors are Native American, Greek, Napoleonic, Doughboys or GIs. Brave men all, to be sure, but it’s still based around violence and death. I’m happier with the Wilton Wahoo swimmers!

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