I am a member of the Diné Nation, part of the Honághááhnii clan, raised in both the Southwest and in Maine. I am the mother of four children, all students in Portland schools and all aware of the challenges Indigenous people face in our state and nationally.

I am an educator and a community activist. I am also one of the co-founders of the first women’s all-Indigenous roller derby team, composed of women from over 20 Indigenous nations and three continents, who competed at the World Cup in 2018. We developed a logo, which I find relevant to the mascot discussion.

The woman warrior depicted in our Team Indigenous logo was developed by our team of Indigenous women to represent the community that we gathered. This is not a mascot. This is not a caricature. This was a representation born from centuries of strength, resilience and culture. We are a proud community, and this is our representation.

The Skowhegan Area High School mascot is a caricature and not born of an Indigenous community. It does not represent who Skowhegan is. More perplexing is that many Indigenous communities have expressed concern over the mascot image and requested its removal. Yet the School Administrative District 54 board continues to dig in their heels at making a change.

Skowhegan is proud. But as we collaborated within our community to develop an image that embodied the spirit of our group, I would ask Skowhegan to collaborate within your community to find your identity and develop a more appropriate representation of who you are. Allow your students and families to have a voice in creating something to be truly proud of. The time for Indigenous mascots is over. We are a people. We are real and living proof of the resilience of generations all around the world. We are not a mascot.

April Fournier

Portland


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