I am an indigenous grandmother raising two young children. Our Abenaki and Mi’kmaq ancestors were those people many refer to as brave, proud, strong and courageous, among other things. What many folks seem to be forgetting is that we are still all of these things and more (“Gov.-elect Mills weighs in on Skowhegan schools’ Indians nickname,” Dec. 7).

I have to wonder why it is appropriate to remember our ancestors in this manner, because when we exhibit these very same qualities, we are met with resistance, anger and derogatory comments. We are those same people many of you claim to honor. If you truly honor us and our ancestors, please, sit back and listen. Read the documentation that has been provided as to the negative impact of dehumanizing us and turning us into props to be argued over.

I see regularly the argument that if the “Indians” nickname is retired, we will be forgotten. How can we be forgotten if we are still here? We are vibrant and beautiful living communities. We are living cultures and sovereign nations. How can we possibly be forgotten when our demographic continues to grow and rebound after centuries of government-sanctioned genocide?

We aren’t going anywhere. We are not going to disappear simply because you choose to do the right thing. If ongoing genocidal practices did not disappear us, retiring a mascot certainly won’t.

I understand many folks insist that the mascot is a source of pride. One’s pride should not come from a thing, it should come from the community itself. I would think that the source of pride would be the students who accomplish great things, not a label. Your children are more than that, and so are we.

Sky Davis

Montague, Massachusetts

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