March 27, 2008

Letter on Natick Redmen

A message from Pete Sanfacon of the New England Anti-Mascot Coalition--the guy leading the battle against the Natick Redmen.Hello Rob,

I've wanted to email you for some time and thank you for the posts you've made regarding the mascot issue in Massachusetts. I've only been working on this for two years but have done a good deal of research--much more, it seems, than the mascot supporters in my area.

As you may know, the enlightened folks of Natick will be voting Tuesday on whether they think the school committee should reconsider their March 2007 decision to drop the "Redmen" nickname at Natick High. Mind you, no one at the high school is learning much about real American Indian people, though they claim to be honoring them with this hideous nickname. A letter from one of my colleagues in yesterday's local paper set off some nasty posts on the paper's website, prompting the MetroWest Daily News to close the comments section for that letter and another, written by a "Redmen" supporter. Call someone a racist and they get so worked up all kinds of racist garbage will spew forth. And our point is made.

I live in Framingham, which is the town next door. I've been labeled an "outsider" and they feel since I'm not an Indian, I should leave them (the "townies") alone. I'm grateful that the school committee, thus far, has stood by their decision and a task force has come up with two proposed new nicknames, the "Hawks" and the "Red & Blue", the nickname until 1956, when an 18-year-old sports columnist renamed them the "Redmen" (in honor of Natick's Native American heritage).

Massachusetts has another 43 high schools to work on. So I've got a lot of uphill climbing to do. I've received a great deal of support from the Native American community here and around the country, which keeps me going.

Thanks again for what you're doing.

Pete Sanfacon
New England Anti-Mascot Coalition
Comment:  So the Natick mascot is a stereotypical Plains chief. Natick is apparently "honoring" Indians who live thousands of miles away. They aren't honoring the Indians in their backyard.

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