It is unfortunate that the Skowhegan school district sports teams can no longer call themselves “The Indians.” Apparently a lot of people find the name offensive. I suspect that is at least partly due to the constant, and, I think, erroneous, reference to the name as designating a “mascot.”

How can a whole race of human beings be called a “mascot”? If the town teams called themselves “The Sailors,” would that mean that all sailors were their mascots?

But the damage is done and it is probably too late to reimagine the name as being a term of honor. There may be no inoffensive way to celebrate or honor our indigenous neighbors by any form of reference.

The next step, of course, is to remove the image of an Indian from the town seal lest it be thought of as referring to the town mascot. Then there is the matter of whether the Indian statue in the town park should be removed.

Finally, of course, maybe the town name should change, since the name “Skowhegan” refers to no word in any language except Abenaki.

Philip Brooks


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