Wilton and Wilton High School will soon have a new, updated logo, one that puts more distance between the current iteration and the history connected to Native American imagery — something that Wilton and other districts with such mascot associations have been criticized for.
Wilton Public School officials say the Wilton High School Warrior — once very clearly represented as a Native American man — no longer has connotations to indigenous people. Instead, the Wilton mascot is portrayed as a Greek or Trojan warrior, and in recent years the school’s logo has been adapted to put more distance between it and any Native American imagery.
Now, steps have been taken to make an even clearer break in the logo’s design.
Wilton Public Schools superintendent, Dr. Kevin Smith, unveiled the logo’s new direction and graphic and color standards at Thursday evening’s (Aug. 26) Board of Education meeting.
The redesign is the culmination of conversations that have taken place over the last few years. Most recently, that discussion sparked in June when State Sen. Cathy Osten added language to the state budget bill that would withhold municipal grant money derived from the Mashantucket Pequot/Mohegan fund from going to any city or town whose high school team nickname or mascot references Native American tribes. Wilton was included on Osten’s list of towns, even though Wilton didn’t receive any grant money from the fund in the first place.
“One of our goals was to remove the feathers from the lance that’s in some of our, particularly in our athletic imagery.”
While the newest redesign was done to remove any association with Native Americans, Smith said it was also initiated because there were so many different variations on the logo theme. Some teams used an arrow with feathers, some without. Some teams used different fonts and there was no consistent shade or tone of blue used in the district.
He set a summer task to create an official logo that would be used by all athletic teams as well as for the district’s academic identification.
Longtime Wilton resident and graphic designer Dave Cote volunteered to help design a cleaner, more updated version of the iconic Wilton ‘W’ to serve as that official logo. Cote put together a graphic standard guide explaining how the new logo should be used, including font choice and Pantone color identification, in order to standardize the logo across the district.
As the new logo is refined and selected it will also become the standard for other organizations — particularly youth sports — and businesses such as Signature Style, Southern Yankee or Purple Frog Graphics that reproduce the logo on items they sell.
Interim Board of Education member Laura Schwemm remembered being a young Wilton student when the district officially retired the “Indian Chief” and adopted the Greek Warrior as its mascot instead in the 1970s. She said the Greek warrior mascot was consistent imagery for the district during her time as a student.
“I found my husband’s [WHS class] ring … very clearly a Greek warrior,” she said. “There’s no doubt.”
Once the official new logo is adopted it will take some time to swap out and change from the old one on the facilities, stadium banners and team uniforms. Smith said the Wilton Athletic and Recreation Foundation, which oversees the banners and stadium sponsorships at the outdoor athletic facilities, will replace banners showing the old arrow-pierced ‘W’ logo with the new one.
Editor’s note: The original story mentioned that the logo on the field would be changed with paint. The turf field is actually constructed with artificial blades in the colors of the logo, and cannot be repainted.