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NAACP: Dartmouth Indian Mascot a Moral Issue

Dartmouth Public Schools

As communities around Massachusetts consider whether to eliminate their Native American school mascots, Dartmouth’s handling of the situation continues to come under scrutiny.

The Dartmouth School Committee voted last week to create an Equality and Diversity Committee. Its task is to review the Dartmouth Indian mascot and other diversity issues in the school system.

The 10-member group will include School Committee members, faculty, students, and administrators. Only two seats will be open to the wider community, and those must be Dartmouth residents.

LaSella Hall, president of the New Bedford branch of the NAACP, said Dartmouth is making the mascot a populist issue when it shouldn’t be.

“This is a moral conversation, right?” he said. “It’s not about what the majority of Dartmouth folks want to do in the face of right and wrong.”

He said the Dartmouth schools are overwhelmingly white, and the new group may not be very diverse.

“We look forward to seeing what will come of this committee, but we have serious concerns about the result of the committee if the committee does not truly include community and Native American voices,” he said.

School Committee members did not respond to requests for comment.

At their last meeting, members emphasized that the new committee will look at multiple diversity issues in the Dartmouth schools, not just the mascot.