Maine School District to Remove Native American Imagery

Schools in Wells, Maine, will be getting a makeover, removing all Native American imagery associated with their mascot, the warrior.

The school board accepted the recommendation of a special Mascot Advisory Committee to keep using the "Warriors" name, but to remove the Native American logo.

It comes after a Native American woman attended a Wells football game last fall and complained that the portrayal of her culture was offensive.

"Times have changed, and now they don't look at it like we're honoring them — it's an embarrassment," said committee chair Rick Coyne.

The superintendent said the Native American imagery will be removed from inside school buildings and outdoor athletic fields — a project that could take several months and cost around $10,000.

The decision comes with mixed emotions in the community. Some say it's a long-overdue overhaul, while others feel it erases important school history.

"We saw it as respectful [to Native Americans] and honoring an important part of history here," said Wells High School graduate Breanna Blake. "But I guess it has to change. Times have changed."

The committee listened to a panel of Native Americans from in and around the community, like Harry Tomah.

"Nobody really wants to be a mascot," he said. Tomah was a longtime teacher at Wells, and he still lives in town.

"Did they go out and ask people if they wanted to be a mascot? No," he said. "It was just always here."

Tomah feels keeping the name "warrior" while removing the Native American imagery strikes the right balance.

The Skowhegan School District is now the only school system in Maine still using a Native American mascot.

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