BOSTON (WHDH) - Advocates gathered for a rally outside the State House on Thursday to call on lawmakers to change the Massachusetts seal and ban Native American mascots at high schools across the Commonwealth.
Those who attended the rally, including the United American Indians of New England, are pushing for the passage of three bills — S 1877/H 2776, which provides for the creation of a special commission relative to the seal and motto of the Commonwealth; S 247/H 443, which bans the use of Native American mascots by public schools in the Commonwealth; and S 1811/H 2948, which protects Native American heritage.
The state seal currently features a colonist’s arm holding a sword above an image of a Native American.
“We are offended and we want you to change it,” said Faries Gray, of the Massachusett Tribe. “It’s time to listen to the indigenous people.”
Stephanie Salguero, a graduate of Billerica High School, said the town must do away with their Indian mascot.
“We must remove the seal of the state flag and we must ban all native mascots,” Salguero said. “It’s a mockery of our strength and our bravery.”
State Sen. Joanne Comerford, of Hampshire County, called the state flag and the use of Native American mascots demeaning as she called on lawmakers to step up and usher in change.
“Not one Massachusetts school shall have a Native American mascot or symbol or name anywhere,” Comerford said.
Lawmakers who support the call for a change hope to have a vote on the bills by the end of 2020.
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