I just read Maulian Smith’s Another View, “Indian is not a costume I wear” (March 10) and was deeply moved, more in disbelief.

She wrote about the first European settlers and thefts of the land here. I believe Smith should sign up for a basic history course. The survival of all mankind in itself has always been the same, right or wrong, and has been practiced by all peoples and races, Indians included; it’s their survival.

When populations grow and resources decline, man relocates and expands. Tribal Indians throughout North America practiced this too, centuries before Columbus. Many battles were fought, Indian against Indian, over land and survival. This still holds true today.

She wrote about the genocidal practices of the first European settlers toward the Indians, their cultural loss, land thefts, and she felt all the wrongdoings were more “than the mind could handle.”

I don’t mean to sound harsh, but I’m sorry to say, it is what it is; we can’t undo it, we move on. The Jewish people were forced to wear the Star of David to stand out in public, were physically beaten, had all their land and possessions taken, and were herded into boxcars and more than 6 million were exterminated in less than four years. Even after this, they moved on, even more determined, not making their past prosecution and injustice an insecurity or an excuse. Life is not easy, it’s choices; we all choose our path.

At a meeting I attended recently, a friend and well-respected teacher told me she always considered her glass “half full.” It’s obvious Smith’s glass is “half empty.”

My children have been brought up that right is right and wrong is wrong, no excuses, don’t be bullied or intimidated. By the way, long after they graduate they will be paying for their college loans. Even though we have Indian blood, their CDIB (certificate degree of Indian blood) percentage was too low for free tuition and board. I’m proud of having Native American blood, even though it is a very small percent, but I do consider myself and my family 100 percent Skowhegan Indian.

We Skowhegan Indians are not a mascot by any means, not a costume removed after a game, or something you can wash off. It’s our heritage, the history of our town and all its hard-working taxpayers who proudly support our teams. I’m sorry Smith and others cannot understand our loyalty and persistence. I myself cannot understand the insecurities and, when all else fails, the taunt of racism.

Harold Bigelow lives in Skowhegan.

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