Maine Native Americans try to persuade town to drop team name
SKOWHEGAN, Maine — Representatives of four Maine Native American tribes will meet with members of the Skowhegan school board to try to persuade them to drop “Indians” as the town’s high school team name.
Members of the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, and Micmac tribes are scheduled to meet with a school board subcommittee Monday at 6 p.m. in the cafeteria at the Skowhegan Area Middle School.
The Morning Sentinel reports that supporters of keeping the team name will hold a silent protest outside the school at 5:15 p.m.
Barry Dana of Solon, former chief of the Penobscot nation, says that using Native American images as mascots, logos, and nicknames does nothing to honor their ancestry.
The school board has no vote scheduled on changing the team’s name.
The Greater Bangor NAACP also opposes the image used by Skowhegan as a mascot, saying it should be removed.
“Part of the process going forward, working with the school, is the education process where tribal people are coming into Skowhegan and educating them,” Dana told the newspaper. “Our part is to request the school to drop the ‘Indians’ nickname and to help them understand why we wish for that.”
Dana said the concept of native heritage celebrated by American people is not shared by native people, considering that “white people massacred, murdered, and made and broke treaties” with their ancestors.
School superintendent Brent Colbry said the full school board voted March 19 to authorize its education policy program committee to meet with tribal leaders.