The town of Killingly will lose more than $94,000 in funding from the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Fund as a result of its high school’s ongoing use of the sports team names “Redmen” and “Red Gals,” the Office of Policy and Management announced Thursday.
Killingly is one of three Connecticut towns to run afoul of a law passed last year by the state legislature, which makes towns using team names or mascots depicting images associated with Native Americans ineligible to receive grant fundingfrom the two tribes.
The other two towns are Canton and Windsor, both using the name “Warriors” for their high school sports teams. Neither town will lose funding as they were not slated to receive any to begin with.
Killingly’s loss of $94,184 comes after the municipality certified to Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration that it intended to continue using the names.
“Pursuant to the statute, the Office of Policy and Management carefully reviewed each submission from every municipality and school district in the state, which included every public elementary, middle, and high school,” Jeffrey Beckham, secretary of OPM, said. “Three schools, Canton High School, Killingly High School, and Windsor High School all certified that they will continue using Native American names, images, or symbols, and as a result those schools are ineligible to receive grants provided by the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Fund.”
Killingly Superintendent Robert Angeli did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday.
Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Fund provides grants to Connecticut municipalities and is funded by slot machine revenue from the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casinos run by the two federally recognized tribes.
When the legislature adopted the new rule last year, Sen. Cathy Osten, a Sprague Democrat who is co-chair of the Appropriations Committee, said it was unfair for towns to expect a portion of slot machine revenue raised by tribes if they insist on using names and imagery the tribes find offensive.
“The people it reflects on have said they don’t appreciate this, that they think this is wrong,” Osten said. “Why should the dollars that they raise be used to support something like this?”
In 2019, the Killingly board of education changed its team names to the Red Hawks, however the board later voted to change it back to the Redmen.