Friday, January 11, 2019

Adelle Belanger On The Racist Backlash After Skowhegan Mascot Public Forum

Screenshot from Somerset Community TV 11 video of Jan. 8 forum

With permission from the author, today I share Adelle Belanger's report back on the racist backlash she experienced and witnessed following her testimony at the January 8 public forum on the Skowhegan Area High School "Indian" mascot. Belanger is a senior at SAHS.

Full video of the forum, including her remarks which begin at the 8:52 mark, may be seen here on YouTube. Thanks to Somerset Community television 11 for their coverage.


Today, my Indigenous classmate was called a c*nt for sharing her opinion on HER school's mascot.
Today, I read racist comments first hand, and called out people who insisted that I was a liberal troll.
Today, I saw white people claim to be Native to say they are not offended by the mascot.
Today, I saw people commenting that my friend who is a reporter should jump in a lake for reporting accurately on the public forum about the mascot.
Today, I saw people claim that two Natives I look up to and respect were ignorant pot stirrers and that they were the real racists.
Today, I saw some of the meanest comments I've ever seen. And trust me, I've seen some mean ones.
Today, I heard people say that all four of Maine's federally recognized tribes were oversensitive crybabies who had nothing better to focus on. All four of them.
Today, I gave people evidence they ignored.
Today, I explained myself over and over, just because I know it's the right thing to do, even if it will not change any minds.
Today, I saw people say that they didn't care how Natives feel about the mascot.
Today, I was so drained. I can not imagine what it must be like for people who can not get away from this. I have the option not to post. I have the option not to engage. The mascot affects my life very little. I am so saddened to think of the people who can't escape this. The Natives who have to explain themselves over and over. The people who get ridiculed for defending themselves and their culture.
For my friends that are still on the fence, I ask you to look at the type of people who are unwilling to change. If you don't support change, you are not honoring Native Americans.
Look at your heroes. What side would they be on? Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, the likes. Who would they support?
-- Adelle Belanger, class of 2019, Skowhegan Area High School
originally posted January 9, 2018

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Adelle— and Lisa...& many others!

Eileen said...

I'm really delighted to hear from this brave young woman! A true leader! We always know in our hearts when we stand on the right side of humanity. It's never on the side of name-calling, never on the side of continuing pain or looking the other way and doing nothing. It's always on the side of helping those who want a place at the table. Thank you!!!

Julianne said...

It gives me hope that there are young people like you who can see and speak the truth in spite of the ugliness coming your way. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I am grateful for your courage and sensitivity.

Donna Fann-Boyle said...

Skowhegan could be facing a human rights complaint for not protecting students as is happening here in Neshaminy school district.

Ed Rice said...

Thank you, Adelle, for your strength and your courage. The winds of change on this issue swept throughout the state of Maine on this issue... except, sadly, in Skowhegan. BUT change is coming.

Carol Maltby said...

A race-based sports mascot gives institutional approval of racism and racial stereotypes, and is a failure of a school's educational mission. May the students who understand this continue to have the strength and courage to withstand the ugly responses coming their way from those stuck in the past. May truth and clarity prevail, and the winds of change blow through this district.

Unknown said...

Adelle, You give me hope for the future. I am Native but can get by on the street as white because of my coloring. I am not free from the anger, disappointment and frustration with the people who support these horrible mascots. I am so proud of you and the points you made so eloquently. Mvto! (Thank you in Muscogee)

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