The tribal ambassador of the Penobscot Nation says she and others will keep up the pressure to retire Skowhegan High School's "Indians" mascot, despite attempts to let an "outside" group influence the issue.
The North Dakota-based Native American Guardians Association (NAGA), which touts a leadership team of enrolled tribal members from around the country, advocates for the continued use of Native American themes by schools and sports teams. The group is expected to appear in Skowhegan for a closed-door gathering of mascot supporters on Sunday. Also invited are the SAD 54 school board and administrators.
But tribal ambassador Maulian Dana says the Penobscots are not invited.
"I don't think it's going to make much of an impact either way,” Dana says. “I think that they're all going to show up, they're going to talk about how great the mascot is, and how much they love it -and how much they hate us- and we're going to keep focused on the work of removing the mascot."
Dana says she questions why the meeting is private if the school board is in attendance, but says there will be a protest action outside the venue.
Dana also says there's more to talk about, and she wants to do it without the pressures of parliamentary procedure.
"Maybe like a talking circle, like we've had at other gatherings,” she says. “We can have native people there, we can people from the town there, allies, and make it open to all. Welcome people that want to keep the mascot so they can hear real life perspectives from the people this is affecting the most- and that's the indigenous people of Maine."
NAGA did not respond to requests for comment.