Skowhegan is my hometown; I wasn’t born there, but I moved to Skowhegan in 1989. Ernest Hemingway once put forth the idea that if you spent enough time in a place, it becomes your hometown. I’ve spent enough time in Skowhegan. I don’t ever want to leave, and I’ll probably die there. Hemingway was talking about Venice and Paris. Hemingway picked his hometowns and I picked mine.

I am really writing to thank the School Administrative District 54 school board for dropping the Indian mascot four years ago, but also for retaining the name “Indian” to represent the school sport teams.

At worse, retaining the Indian name is neutral. It is in the dictionary, newspapers don’t get sued for using it, and the Indians on the Penobscot reservation use it themselves (Indian Island).

Using the Indian name with the school sports teams is highly positive. Native Americans in this way  are celebrated as brave, stoic and determined. It is a compliment. It is meant to inspire the teams and nothing else.

There is an even deeper meaning to using the Indian name. The Native Americans lost everything in the centuries-long struggle with those who came here. There were hundreds of wars. The Native Americans never had a chance against overwhelming numbers and technological superiority. History cannot be changed. Extracting their finest trait in the struggle, their courage, and attaching it to the sports teams pays a lasting tribute to them.

Why do people keep writing in saying to get rid of the mascot when it has been gone for nearly four years?  The only mascot left is the one created by those who claim to be against the mascot. Continuing to demand to drop something that already has been dropped gives the impression that it hasn’t been.

Gerald W. Thibault

 Skowhegan

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