Recently, the Scarborough Board of Education voted to remove the Native American chief mural from Plummer Gymnasium at Scarborough High School, where it has been since the 1990s.

The mural is effectively the last vestige of the former mascot, which was replaced by the “Red Storm” 20 years ago. While this mural represents a piece of our community’s history, it also symbolizes something more harsh – racial insensitivity – though it was never meant to.

As a 1998 alumnus of Scarborough High School, I cherish my memories of SHS. I remember the basketball games in the “Terrordome” (Plummer Gymnasium), and I remember the senior classman who dressed up in war paint to ramp up school spirit and the chants we screamed from the bleachers to support our team. We did all of it with a youthful innocence, never wanting or intending to hurt anyone.

But we were young, naïve and maybe a little ignorant of the cultural implications. Today, we have matured as a society and I believe that when you know better, you do better. For example, we would never dream of dressing a student in war paint today, nor of chanting Native American-themed jeers from the sidelines. Such acts are now completely unthinkable.

Today, the only thing the mural’s physical presence affects is how unwelcome some people feel in Plummer Gymnasium. That alone, despite my fond memories, is enough to know that it no longer embodies the Scarborough I grew up in nor the one I was elected to serve on the school board.

Nicholas Gill

Scarborough

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