Education

Organizer changes mind on mascot after hearing from tribes






Zachary Queenan spoke in support of the mascot at a meeting in April but changed his mind after hearing from tribes. Photo from Facebook

An outspoken defender of a racist mascot has changed his position after listening to testimony from tribal leaders.

Zachary Queenan, 17, was organizing support for the "Indians" mascot at Skowhegan Area High School, where he participated in track and field. But he's given up control of the Keep Skowhegan the Indians page because he no longer believes in the cause.

“I just started seeing some of the testimonials from the people and talking about how they felt about it, how they feel we should continue, and it just started making sense that how I was feeling before was really wrong,” Queenan told The Kennebec Journal .


A statue of an "Indian" in Skowhegan, Maine. Photo from Blowin in the Wind

Leaders of the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy (Indian Township | Pleasant Point), the Maliseet and Micmac tribes have already asked the school to get rid of the mascot. But they were not allowed to participate in a public hearing on Monday unless they proved they lived within the district.

Maulian Smith, a member of the Penobscot Nation who has writen about the issue, wanted to read a letter from Chief Kirk Francis at the meeting was turned away by a police officer because she isn't a resident, the Journal reported.

The school board is expected to discuss the mascot at its meeting tomorrow, the paper said.

Get the Story:
Organizer of efforts to keep Skowhegan ‘Indians’ mascot changes mind (The Kennebec Journal 5/6)
SAD 54 residents argue over keeping the Indian mascot for school sports teams (The Kennebec Journal 5/5)
Public in uproar over Skowhegan school mascot, again (WCSH 5/4)
Residents Speak Out on Skowhegan Mascot Controversy (WABI 5/4)

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Ed Rice: Maine schools show lack of respect with Indian mascots (3/31)