Hot on the heels of their recent decision to abandon the Electoral College, the state government of Maine is getting busy solving all of society’s other ills. This week, it was the pressing social problem of schools and other organizations employing Native American symbols as mascots, logos or other images representing their various sports teams and related activities. Democratic Governor Janet Mills has already signed the bill into law and it will take effect this summer. (The Blaze)
In general terms, I don’t have any real objection to this. It’s the sort of decision that should be made at the state or local level rather than the federal. The tribes have been lobbying for such a rule and it appears that the people, through their elected representatives, have decided to enact it into law. Fair enough. There’s definitely a free speech element to this debate and if it were challenged it might not survive at the Supreme Court, but of all the Democratic intrusiveness we’ve run into lately, this is likely one of the least offensive.
Here’s the rather bizarre element to the story, though. There are no longer any schools or other institutions with Native American themed mascots in Maine. The last one that had such a mascot (Skowhegan school district “Indians”) had already dropped theirs. The citizens of the state had communally decided to address the issue themselves without the government getting involved. At this point, it’s something akin to banning hunting wolves in Delaware. (There are no wolves in Delaware, though they do reportedly have between 50 and 100 coyotes.)
Anyway, until a school or some other organization opens up and wants to have a Native American mascot, that’s likely the last we’ll hear of this. If nobody is arguing, it’s unlikely the law will face a challenge. In the meantime, this brief report from News Center Maine gives you the flavor of the Skowhegan story and how it came about.