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Taconic High School in Pittsfield retires its Native American mascot

Students in 2018 at Taconic High School in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Pittsfield Public Schools
Students in 2018 at Taconic High School in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

A Pittsfield, Massachusetts, public school is the latest to get rid of its Native American mascot.

Taconic High School is retiring the school's "Braves" mascot by offering a community survey to find alternatives that do not reference Native American culture.

Community members have 10 semifinalist choices to pick from, including "Astros" and "Timberwolves."

Jake Messier is with HEARD Strategy, a nonprofit marketing agency helping Taconic rebrand its mascot for free. He said the school is allowing elementary students to vote, since they will be the next generation to represent their new mascot.

“The kids really feeling like they're being listened to and included — and it's 2021, and there are some things that need to be put aside,” Messier said. “And we're in the business of making sure that everybody feels included where they're at.”

Messier said there are still dozens of Massachusetts public schools that have Native American symbols as their mascots.

Nirvani Williams covers socioeconomic disparities for New England Public Media, joining the news team in June 2021 through Report for America.
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