Danville ditches ‘Indians’ nickname for sports teams

Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 3:41 PM EDT
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DANVILLE, Vt. (WCAX) - The Danville School Board is adopting a new policy, ultimately retiring the current school nickname the “Indians.” The decision came as no surprise to students, who drove the change, but it did lead to heated discussions among some adults in town.

The school board first discussed changing the name in October of last year. But a Danville High School student made the topic of changing the school’s nickname the basis of her senior project. So, the school board put the change on pause to not interfere with her work.

Earlier this month, the board held a special meeting to discuss the change where the student presented her work. About 100 community members attended. Of those, Caledonia Central Supervisory Union Superintendent Mark Tucker says the 15-20 people who spoke were in favor of the change.

Following the meeting, the policy and a process to create a new school identity were drafted. The policy passed 4-1 at Tuesday night’s meeting. But the opposition spoke out against the change at that meeting.

Tucker says it is important for the school board to listen to the student community.

“We have trophy cases full of trophies for the sports teams, many of which say something like, ’1998 Danville Indians Boys Basketball.’ We’re not getting rid of any of that stuff. It’s just moving forward. The kids wanted a new mascot and they didn’t feel comfortable calling themselves Indians,” Tucker said. “This is a funny year to be doing all of this, but with everything else going on, I think it’s important. I’m happy it was done. I’m happy the kids drove it. I’m happy that the board listened to the student input on this.”

Going forward, there will be no more use of the name Danville Indians. Tucker says the word Indians will be removed from the gym floor during the upcoming school renovation project. Some of the school sports uniforms have Indians printed on them, so those will be phased out

At the next meeting, scheduled for April 6, the process will begin to create a new school mascot and nickname. Tucker says he expects a new name by the end of this school year.

High school mascot name changes are not uncommon.

Some adults associated with Champlain Valley Union High School are still upset about the change from the Crusaders to Red Hawks, even though some students at the school are not even aware of the previous mascot.

Meanwhile, in Rutland, the controversy continues over the Rutland Raiders nickname which was changed to the Ravens. Some recently elected school board members there have said they’d like to change it back to the Raiders.

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