|Birds of a feather flock together. Pretendians and actual Native supporters of Covington Catholic School boys who mocked Native ceremonial drumming at an Indigenous People's Day March in Washington DC last month while wearing clothing with the slogan "Make America Great Again".|
Skowhegan school board director Jennifer Poirier has decided to ignore her legal vulnerability for bias in conducting MSAD 54's business of educating children.
Plowing straight ahead into that particular storm, in her capacity as an organizer for the Skowhegan "Indian Pride" (SIP) group she has invited the Native American Guardians Association (NAGA) to Skowhegan for an invitation-only event to be held at the bowling alley.
NAGA was established by people affiliated with the Washington R#%$kin$ football franchise and their efforts to resist calls to retire their racist team name.
The sports site Deadspin has been following their efforts in Washington DC as well as their involvement in local mascot controversies at schools in New York and Utah, among other places.
Post from Cedar High School, Utah mascot controversy where the "R*dmen" were recently retired. Posted by Not Your Disappearing Indian podcaster Jacqueline Keeler.
Now, NAGA will come to Maine.
So much for SIP's constant refrain that they are tired of people from "away" telling them what to do about the Indian team name they claim is a purely local issue.
Probably the most convincing evidence that NAGA does not actually represent Maine's Native people is their own statement, "NAGAs[sic] mission is to preserve and perpetuate Native American culture..." As we know, Maine alone has four Native groups, each with their own distinctive culture which includes language. Passamoquoddy is not Penobscot, and vice versa, etc.
There is literally no such thing as Native American culture, singular.
(Also, the white people who lead NAGA might want to study their own cultural practices around correct use of the possessive apostrophe.)
MSAD 54 school board members should probably listen to legal advice and check themselves before they wreck themselves. What they do during board meetings is protected by insurance in place to cover any liabilities incurred while conducting official business. We, the taxpayers, pay those insurance premiums, presumably because there would be too much risk to an individual making policy decisions that might lead to a lawsuit. What directors do outside of board meetings is not protected unless they have their own insurance for this. They are acting as individuals, and can be held liable as such.
For broader context, here's news of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan filing a federal discrimination complaint against the Paw Paw Public School district. What's the mascot/team name at Paw Paw High School? The R#%$kin$.
(I use a euphemism for this name because of the connotation of scalping and bloodletting that were foundational to the attempted genocide targeting indigenous people in North America.)
The ACLU of Maine has already notified Poirier and the other MSAD 54 directors, on more than one occasion, that they consider the team name Indians violates non-discrimination statutes that schools receiving federal funds must observe.
This screenshot from the SIP Facebook group indicates that changers who want to weigh in at the event this Sunday, February 24 from 1-3pm at the bowling alley would do well to stand on the public road (Route 201) with their signs.
As someone who has exercised my 1st amendment rights in Skowhegan on many, many Sundays, I feel safe in saying that the local police are well aware of where people may engage in political speech. Hooray for the Constitution!
As for why pretendians and some actual Native people from away represent for NAGA, we know that the majority owner of the Washington NFL franchise and its branding is very, very wealthy. Could be it's all about the Benjamins, baby.