Pentucket Regional School Committee Votes to Retire ‘Sachem’ Name and Imagery

Existing mascot.

The Sachem name and imagery that has been part of the Pentucket Regional School District since 1958 is being retired.

The Pentucket Regional School Committee made the decision to night to “fully retire” the Sachem mascot following a presentation on the history of the Sachem name and imagery, and of the mascot by School Committee Chairwoman Dena Trotta and Superintendent Justin Bartholomew.

“A lot of thought and consideration went into this decision, and ultimately the School Committee has decided this is the right path for our district to take,” Bartholomew said. “When the mascot first was selected it was done so out of respect for what they believed a ‘Sachem’ represented. We know today that there are myriad reasons why it is not appropriate to have a ‘Sachem’ mascot, and this is an opportunity for Pentucket to start a new chapter.”

Members said they were educated during a July discussion with leaders of the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook-Abenaki People, Sag8mo Paul Pouliot and Denise Pouliot. During that meeting, district leadership learned Native Americans indigenous to the Pentucket area did not use the term Sachem. Tribes in Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts did have Sachems, however, who were the speakers for the tribe or the head of a family.

A statement following the meeting read, “The harmful Native American stereotypes perpetuated by the media and American society were also discussed at the July meeting, for example the popularization of the Native American headdress, which has been featured in past representations of Pentucket’s Sachem mascot.”

The School Committee is expected to discuss the district’s next steps at a future meeting, but school sports teams will be referred to as “Pentucket” for the time being.

Current uniforms will be used until they are due to be replaced, and the high school gym floor, which bears the name “Sachems,” will be replaced when the new Pentucket Regional Middle High School building opens, likely in 2022

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