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Native American Parent Says Chants, War Paint At Maine High School Game Were Racist

The Wells school superintendent is investigating whether players or fans engaged in racist behavior at a Friday night home football game. The probe was triggered by a complaint by a member of the Micmac Tribe whose son is a quarterback for Lisbon High.

Amelia Tuplin says it wasn’t the Wells High School’s painted logo of a Native American in a feathered headdress displayed on Memorial Field that offended her — the Wells team goes by the nickname “Warriors.” Instead, she says it was the reception her family received from Wells fans in the stands and on the sidelines.

“Nothing was directly said to me, other than when we were escorting the field — I walked my son from the field to the high school gym,” she says. “I had parents, or I should say adults, making hand-over-mouth gestures and sounds as we were leaving, directly to us.”

In addition to the whooping sounds and gestures, Tuplin says Wells players performed a mock war dance on the field that included chanting. In the stands, fans had their faces emblazoned with war paint while others beat on drums or plastic buckets.

Tuplin says she looked around for someone to step in and stop what she considered a racial mockery of Native people. But no one did.

“It did not happen and that’s what’s upsetting. Superintendent Daley — This was happening under his watchful eye,” Tuplin said. “This was happening in his facility, this was happening under his director and this was happening under his educators, and for quite some time. At what point did he not — as an educator at the highest level in the school — not think that this was wrong?”

“Our administration is working on fact-finding,” Daley says. “Allegations have been made by Ms. Tuplin, making some very, very serious allegations about the Wells and Ogunquit community, and we’re fact-finding.”

Daley says the school district is investigating Tuplin’s assertion that the behavior is offensive and perpetuates negative stereotypes of Native Americans. In addition to reviewing videotapes made during the game, Daley says police officers who were assigned to the event are being interviewed, along with everyone from game officials to concession sellers.

Once the inquiry is complete, Daley says the findings will be reviewed and the district will formulate a response.

This story was originally published Oct. 17, 2017 at 5:04 p.m. ET.