WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The West Hartford Board of Education voted to change the town’s high schools’ team names Tuesday night.

The town is at the center of a battle over Native American high school mascots, and a vote took place during Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting on the use of the names “Chieftain” and “Warrior.”

The board voted 5-2 in favor of changing the Chieftains name, which is used at Conard High School and 4-3 in favor of changing the Warriors name, which is used at Hall High School.

Views were mixed among the board.

“The debate on the meaning of these words will never end. We have all inherited imperfect institutions,” said BOE member Dr. Jason Chang.

“There is nothing in either team’s name that is unique to Native American histories,” said BOE member Ethan Goldman.

This is not the first time the names came into question. Back in 2015, the Board of Ed voted to remove any Native American symbols from the two schools but keep the team names.

“Here is another chance for the board to do the right thing, the thing they could have done in 2015,” said Judy Kelly.

The conversation is now coming up again after revising the district’s equity policy and after the state passed a provision last year that would remove Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan funding from any school whose team name or mascot demeans state tribes.

Districts have to submit paperwork on their mascot status to the state by March 15.

Based on that provision, the Board of Education requested a review of the history surrounding the use of the two terms, including receiving input from tribes in the state and surveys conducted by student representatives.

Members of the community shared their thoughts Tuesday night and were very much split on the matter.

“History is not there for you to like or dislike, it is there for you to learn from and if it offends you even better because then you are less likely to repeat it,” said India Lidell.

“It’s impossible to separate the names from their original dehumanizing origin,” said Mary Fleischli.

The plan is to come up with new team names by June 7. They will form committees to help with the process.

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