Bill proposed to rename Thames River back to its original name

Proposal to change name of Thames River
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 8:00 PM EST
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NORWICH, CT (WFSB) - A historic Connecticut river could see a name change.

State Rep. Anthony Nolan proposed a bill that would rename the Thames River back to its original name, the Pequot River.

The Thames River is named after European settlers, but before that the river was called the Pequot River to honor the Native Americans that live there.

Starting in Norwich, the Thames River stretches about 15 miles long all the way into the New London area, passing the Mohegan Sun Casino.

“There were people before us here and the Pequot and Mohegan are these native people, so I definitely agree. It’s a great idea,” said Anibal Cintron of Norwich.

Rep. Nolan said: “Our state had a significant history prior to the European’s arrival, and I believe through this change we can return a piece of history that was taken away. Connecticut’s five tribal nations are a significant part of the state’s past and present, and in building on their land, we have a responsibility to honor their contributions and preserve a past that was erased.”

“I did learn that fact when I did oceanology a couple of years ago. And I did find it pretty interesting, and I totally agree with the changing of the name,” said Yisaira Torres of Norwich.

The Thames River Basin Partnership, which is the organization that works to protect the river, is also supporting the proposal.

In a statement their coordinator says several rivers in Connecticut honor the first nations, adding: “I personally support the name change and on the Thames River Basin Partnership website, we have long included both names for the Thames River.”