My wife attended King Phillip Middle school as a child. There are two other schools in the United States that take their name from King Phillip. I continue to be astounded by the use of his name for any school.
King Philip Middle School was named after King Philip, which is the English mispronunciation-bastardization of the Wampanoag tribal chief Metacomet, who led a war against the Puritans from 1675-1676. Proportionate to the colonial and Native American populations at the time, it was one of the bloodiest and costliest wars in the history of North America. More than half of New England's ninety towns were assaulted by Native American warriors, and one-tenth of all Puritans were killed.
Yet for some reason, three schools in America have named themselves in honor of this Native American chief and have used the English version of his name rather than the guy’s actual name while doing so.
This seems stupid enough, but even more so considering there is little historical record in relation to King Philip. He led a Native American tribe, fought Puritan expansion, and died at the hands of another Native American while hiding out in the swamps of Rhode Island.
I guess he could have been a great man, but who knows?
Maybe he was lousy leader. Maybe he was a jerk.
After all, he only ascended to the role of chief after his brother died. It wasn’t like anyone elected the guy to office. The Wampanoag chose their leaders just like the English chose kings.
He also failed to handle the conflict diplomatically and was outmaneuvered by several other Native American tribes which forged alliances with the English in order to undermine Wampanoag power in the region.
Weren’t there more verifiably worthy Native Americans to consider when naming a middle school? Or at least Native Americans with actual Native American names?
And if you are going to use a guy you know little about, why not at least use his actual name instead of some foreign-tongue ruination?
The other two schools using King Phillip's name are in Massachusetts. It is a school district comprised of a middle and a high school which both bear King Philip’s name (as does the district itself).
This is the district’s logo, which may or may not be an accurate representation of the seventeenth century Native American chief.
I’m guessing not.