Yearbook Name Change
“In May of 2020… the yearbook got sent out to everybody with a letter, and in the letter, it was talking about why the name Inde was chosen,” says Ms. Greene, an advisor on the yearbook committee. “[The letter said] ‘it seems fitting that at the site of Moor’s Indian Charity School and where the Indians once walked freely we should choose an Indian name for our [yearbook] hence Inde, an Indian name meaning flame.” In 1919, Hanover High School changed the name of their yearbook to Inde, supposedly to honor the Moor’s Indian Charity School. However, over the course of last year, the yearbook club has spoken with representatives Donna and John Moody of the Abenaki Nation and coordinators from the Winter Center for Indigenous Tribes to investigate the origin of the title. Unfortunately, after many discussions with representatives and researching other indigenous languages from around the area, Mrs. Greene and her team learned that the name Inde does not translate to “flame” in the Abenaki language, or any languages nearby. In fact, the closest translation that was found was from “Tinde” in Mescalero Apache meaning “the People”.
“I’ve been an advisor for eight years to the yearbook… and the fact that it was supposed to mean flame was news to me,” recounts Ms. Greene, “it was pretty much news to everybody” in the yearbook club. So the club’s first idea was to just change the name to Independent, to specify that they were no longer trying to represent the word Inde. So the club organized a survey, vetted of bias, to send out to members of the club to gauge everyone’s opinion on whether the name should stay the same, be changed to Independent, or be changed entirely. However, before the survey was sent out, new information in the investigation was uncovered.
Ms. Greene had been talking with the Moodys for the past few weeks; keeping them updated on the way the investigations were going and up to date on the decisions of the club. Before the survey had been sent out the Moody’s told Ms. Greene felt uncomfortable with the 2020-2021 yearbook having the name Inde. “After talking to the Moodys I came back and I said ‘this is where I’m taking a stand’” says Ms. Greene, who had previously acted as a conduit of information from the Moodys to the yearbook club. “The people who it’s meant to honor say ‘get rid of it.’ The people it’s meant to honor say it means nothing.”
This information led to an immediate vote of the yearbook club, which had previously been a mixed bag of feelings of attachment to the long-running name of the yearbook, people who wanted it to change, and people who hadn’t been swayed to either side. Now, with the testimony from Moodys, the club unanimously decided to erase the name Inde from the yearbook.
While this process was happening, Ms. Greene had also been working with Devin Voake and Pam Custer to create an advisory circle to ask HHS students how they felt about this issue. They wanted to create another discussion with potentially affected students, as with the marauder, in order to see people’s differing opinions. However, after the club voted on changing the name of the yearbook, the goal shifted into informing students on the background and history of the overall decision. “It became a process of trying to involve the school in letting them know… it was a different process than we had originally thought…it became ‘if the people who are most closely tied to this are saying “please stop”, then those are the people we are going to listen to,’” says Ms. Greene, explaining how the Moodys and the people they are representing should have louder voices if they are being more personally affected.
This year will mark the first edition of the HHS yearbook since 1919 without the name Inde, but the yearbook club has introduced the idea of subtitles that describe an ‘overarching theme’ of the year.