I have this question to pose about the Skowhegan mascot issue: What part of “no means no” don’t people get?

If the use of the image, name and culture is unwanted and the mascot is perpetuated, it is a form of harassment. All schools and workplaces have harassment policies in place that state when a gesture is unwanted and the person or persons repeatedly says no, continuing to do the offending behavior is harassment.

The school athletic program should be a model in recognizing that “no means no,” especially in this day and age. What message are we sending our young people in insisting on an image and name that we claim is honoring or respecting when it has been clearly stated that it is not welcome by some?

The argument that “We have always been the Indians” falls flat as well. How many injustices have been perpetuated in history because something was always done a certain way? That argument might have kept slavery in place, prevented women’s right to vote and countless other lop-sided power struggles.

We have a chance to do the right thing here. The time has come to change. Members of the native population expressed offense more than 10 years ago. The question should not be will we change it, but what will we change it to?

Mary McCann-Baker


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