I spent time watching news clips about the school board meeting regarding the mascot in Skowhegan (“200 people attend forum about ‘Indians’ mascot in Skowhegan,” Jan. 8). There were folks who support the use of the term “Indian” as its mascot as well as those who don’t. There were representatives of the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy nations.

I watched as folks who support the use of the term for the school mascot stood and shared how their usage of this term is meant to honor the people who were here long before Europeans arrived. Even though I didn’t agree with them, I used to believe that in their hearts they felt they were honoring. But I no longer believe that.

You can tell a lot about a person’s true beliefs when you watch them. As the tribal leaders stood, in full regalia, to share what the term and its usage means to them, I found myself watching not only them but those in attendance. But from those in attendance who claim they use the term as a way to honor those standing in front of them, honor was not what I saw. As these leaders spoke, I saw supporters of the term rolling their eyes and snickering. I saw arms crossed and school board members writing and not making eye contact while they were being spoken to. That does not look like honoring to me. It doesn’t even look like basic human respect.

So I have come to the conclusion that either ignorance and/or racism is behind the use of this term.

It is time for Skowhegan to stop this illusion that this is a name used in honor when so many around the state see otherwise. It is time to acknowledge the pain caused, apologize, and then retire the mascot.

Mary Dunn


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