The “Indian” mascot of Skowhegan area schools is once again stirring debate in town.
In Skowhegan, more than 100 people came out to the area’s middle school to discuss whether the mascot of the “Indian” is inherently racist or a representative of the community’s heritage, and some say, it should come down to the Native Americans who live in the area.
Native Americans attending the meeting Tuesday night say they are offended by Skowhegan area schools’ use of the “Indian” mascot.
“It’s a generic form of adoration that actually diminishes me as an individual, it diminishes my tribe,” Penobscot Nation member Cherri Mitchell said.
Three years ago, the school board heard similar arguments and voted to keep the mascot.
Some in the packed crowd say the mascot is a part of the town’s very fabric.
“There’s nothing derogatory, or a put down in any way,” resident Judi York said. “We’ve always used the word, it’s a part of our town logo.”
A logo they say honors the past, but some in town say they don’t need a racist symbol to feel pride.
“We’ll still have the traditions,” Skowhegan property owner Lisa Savage said. “You can be sentimental about where you went to school, where your family went to school, and you don’t need an Indian mascot to do all that.”
Tuesday night’s meeting was only a hearing, so nothing is going to be decided. The board says it will announce whether members will even take a vote at a later date.