On Aug. 6, there was proof that the Skowhegan Indian mascot degrades and is racist toward Native Americans.

Rick York, high school baseball coach, uploaded a picture of a “scalp towel” to his public Facebook page. He tagged school board member (and administrator of Skowhegan Indian Pride) Jennifer Poirier. She commented on the picture in a joking manner.

The “scalp towel” has a drawing of a hand holding a clump of hair.

Scalping is a barbaric practice that kills a person by removing the top of one’s head with a sharp implement. In 1755, Spencer Phips, acting governor of Massachusetts (including Maine), declared war against the Penobscot people and offered bounties for each scalp presented as proof of death.

The booster club developed and sold these towels 20-30 years ago, but, as evidenced by York’s post, they are still being used today.

It is insulting that these people in leadership roles in the community feel entitled to mock the people they insist they “honor” with their Indian mascot.

Would it be honorable to name a school mascot “The Jews”? Could we have memorabilia for sporting events depicting gas chambers and concentration camps? Could we tell offended Jews that they should get over it because we know a Jew who is fine with it? It is no different. Skowhegan can do better.

Maulian Smith

Indian Island

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