The Last Year of the Sachem?

Pentucket High School has had the same mascot for seven decades; the Sachem. And for the first time in all these years, it is officially under scrutiny. The Masconomet Chieftains have recently changed their name from the Chieftains to “Tri- Town.” Now, rumor has it that this could be the last year Pentucket will have its mascot of the Sachem, which poses the question of whether or not the Sachem truly is racist.

In a recent poll of 65 Pentucket seniors, 92% said they do not find the Sachem offensive, while the other 8% stated that the Sachem is in fact racist. One anonymous Pentucket Senior stated “It’s racist and horrible to use a culture as a mascot. Native Americans get very little respect in today’s culture and Pentucket is contributing to the problem by using this mascot. It gets worse when one thinks about the ‘costume’ sometimes worn at school events.”

However, others disagree. When asked if the Sachem is offensive or racist, Pentucket Junior Adrianna Santos replied, “No I don’t [find it offensive]. Not at all. It’s not meant to be offensive. It’s just a mascot.”

Brandon Barlow, another Pentucket Junior, concurred with Santos when asked if he finds the Sachem offensive, stating “Absolutely 100% not. I take pride in being a Sachem. I bleed green.”

Others, such as Pentucket history teacher Mr. Dzeiak believe that the Sachem is “very offensive,” and further explained his reasoning, stating “I feel like human beings shouldn’t be mascots, people that we committed genocide against. Would we find it OK if the Germans called themselves the Jews?”

This is a fair point, and certainly puts things into perspective, however, Garret Lischke, also a Pentucket Junior still disagrees. “I think the world we live in is oversensitive and tries to make an innocent source of community pride a racist symbol.”

Whatever opinion you may have, racist mascots are causing problems ranging from high schools like Pentucket to Masconomet, and to professional sports leagues like the NFL, which is currently dealing with protests of the team name “Redskins.” One may argue that society is getting to be too soft; another may argue that it is 2014 and we should stop using groups that were once considered a minority as mascots for sports teams. That choice of opinion is up to you.