KILLINGLY, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s been a source of controversy and a source of pride for the town of Killingly.
For generations the high school mascot and nickname were the Redmen until a student led effort a couple of years ago got the name changed to the Red Hawks.
“We aren’t the mascot,” Killingly High School student Jessica Long told News 8 in December 2019. “The Native Americans are the mascot and it’s wrong of us to decide if it’s offensive or not.”
Shortly after that with some new school board members the name was changed back to Redmen by a 5 to 4 vote.
“I don’t know why people are so like so uptight about everything because it’s just a mascot for a high school,” said Killingly resident Justine Laporte.
The term was never meant as a derogatory term but some Native American groups were offended, including the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans who have provided billions of dollars to the state from their casino revenues.
They no longer want that slot money to go to the dozen of towns. Senate Democrats say use Native American mascots, nicknames, or imagery for their sports teams.
“If the town’s going to loose a lot of money then I guess they got to do what they got to do for the money because evidently it might mean, if they lose money my taxes go up right?” said Killingly resident Peter Chubka.
Even schools which kept the mascot name but got rid of all the Native American imagery could still lose funding because of that reference.
Some towns stand to lose $100,000 a year if the state budget passes with that stipulation and the team names aren’t changed in year.