A Solon man who is the former chief of the Penobscot Nation reportedly was harassed by phone days after Donald Trump’s election as president, a report that police are investigating amid a spate of similar racially charged incidents across the country.

Barry Dana, of Solon, said Friday that he received a dozen calls on his home phone Thursday, two days after Trump was elected president, from a man using vulgar language and insulting his Indian heritage.

“My phone just rang … a man called and left a message, ‘native Americans are scum bags,'” Dana wrote on his Facebook page Thursday morning.

He said he and his family recorded the number and called the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating.

Contacted by phone Friday, Dana said the man called his home 12 times, repeating racially charged insults. The man said he had attended the 2015 Indigenous Peoples’ Day at Lake George Regional Park in Skowhegan, but Dana could not confirm that. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is often marked by native Americans and others who object to the celebration of Columbus Day, which they say is celebrates the massacre of native peoples.

“We got a call from a gentleman who wanted to let me know what he thought of me, I guess,” Dana said. “It wasn’t very pleasant. There were vulgarities, reference to being Indian. He just went on and on and on, repeating himself. He called a total of 12 times.”

Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster said he has been briefed on the recorded messages left on Dana’s home phone and Deputy Craig Dyer is working on leads. He said there is “a component” of racism included in the messages.

“All we can say right now is that it’s still an active investigation,” Lancaster said. “We’re still working on identifying and locating the caller. We have not been able to make contact with the caller at this time.”

Dana said he is aware of anecdotal evidence of a rising white supremacist sentiment in the country since Trump’s election Tuesday, but said Friday he would not link the events immediately.

“I won’t make that connection,” Dana said. “Others have because of the timing and on-goings around the nation, but I do not know.”

A call to the cellphone number of the caller by a reporter Friday went directly to voicemail, saying a mail box had not yet been set up.

Incidents of bigotry and racial graffiti have been reported in locations across the country since election night, according to news accounts. USA Today reported students at the University of Vermont found a Donald Trump campaign sign painted with a swastika three doors down from the campus headquarters of the Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. Other incidents were reported in New York state, at Texas State University and in Minnesota, where hash tags including “white America” and “Trump train” were found.

No one was available for comment Friday, Veterans Day, at the Maine office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored people — NAACP — which has weighed in previously on the controversy surrounding the use of a Native American image and the name “Indians” at Skowhegan Area High School for a sports mascot.

Maulian Smith, who is the founder of the Not Your Mascot Facebook page, is Barry Dana’s daughter. Smith, of Indian Island, said Friday she was mentioned in the telephone messages but does not think the caller is a member of a closed Facebook group, Skowhegan Indian Pride, supporting continued use of the name “Indians.”

The Maine offices of the American Civil Liberties Union were closed Friday, but the national organization posted a statement on its website regarding Trump’s promises during the presidential campaign. In response to Trump’s election, ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero urged Trump to change course on some of his campaign promises.

“These include your plan to amass a deportation force to remove 11 million undocumented immigrants; ban the entry of Muslims into our country and aggressively surveil them; punish women for accessing abortion; reauthorize waterboarding and other forms of torture; and change our nation’s libel laws and restrict freedom of expression,” Romero wrote.

“These proposals are not simply un-American and wrong-headed, they are unlawful and unconstitutional.”

Dana declined to provide more details on the phone messages Friday, saying he did not want to compromise the police investigation.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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