Many Skowhegan alumni clinging to their “Indian Pride” are confused about the fact that the team mascot for Skowhegan Area High School is an educational issue. How and why Native sports names and caricatures are harmful to all students — not just Native students — was the subject of an American Psychological Association report in 2005.

The school board in School Administrative District 54 is charged with overseeing educational issues. It does not involve itself with matters such as public art (i.e., the Bernard Langlais statue of an Indian visible from downtown) or town names or seals. Nor should it. These are not educational issues.

Some mascot defenders may understand this but nonetheless attempt to use fear of that the town will be forced to change much more than a high school team name to gather more support. Other mascot supporters may be genuinely confused about what is or is not an educational issue. School board directors should be able to understand this crucial difference. If they cannot, they should probably resign.

Lisa Savage


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