I am very proud of the SAD 54 School Board members for their 11-9 vote a short time ago to keep the Skowhegan Indian as a sports mascot. I felt that pride despite the fact that I would have voted to eliminate the mascot if I were one of those members.

I have lived in Skowhegan since 1989. Both of my children graduated from the high school. It would have been a sad thing to see the Indian go. It seemed to me that the school board members simply each did what he or she thought was right — good democracy in action.

I have never seen a hint in this community of anger or resentment toward Native Americans. The defenders of keeping the Indian point out that having an Indian represent the teams was regarded as a way of praising Native Americans. The defense is totally believable. However, when people think about the word “mascot,” most think about some cute yelping little dog or some human dressed up like a clown. It is then also understandable that some people find having their people equated to a lap dog or a clown as highly offensive.

I have a suggestion for the SAD 54 school board: Take a vote to keep the image of the Indian, but officially drop the word “mascot.” Call it something like “Inspirational Icon.” This is all only really about a word. Why not just get rid of the word? Everyone would win.

Gerald W. Thibault

Skowhegan


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