A Former Wells High School Student Responds to Racism Allegations at Football Game
Since posting our article about a parent of a Lisbon quarterback who requested an apology for what she viewed as racist behavior at the Lisbon vs Wells high school football game, opinions have been heated.
Amelia Tuplin wrote in a letter to the Wells Superintendent of Schools that she witnessed spectators with painted faces, banging on drums, chanting and making hand over mouth sounds that she described as a "display of racism on the largest scale" that she had ever seen.
We've gotten numerous comments on our Facebook page supporting both sides of this and a few emails including this one from a Wells High School alumnus who requested to remain anonymous who shares their viewpoint.
Hello Mr. Parsons,
I am an Alumnus of Wells High School and I recently read your article on the letter written to the administration of Wells High School, of Wells, Maine. In the article and letter attached there is a call for a public apology for “...first hand a racially insensitive display of racism and mockery of our culture on a large scale at the Wells High School Football Game...” as quoted by the woman who wrote the letter, Amelia Tuplin, of Lisbon, Maine. Mrs. Tuplin states in this letter that the school’s fake drums, facepaint, and chants were directly offensive and racist due to the nature of our mascot, and called for the students and administration to be properly educated on Native American cultural awareness training and the removal of our mascot.
As an alumnus of the school I can attest to the practices stated and have even participated in these traditions, such as the chants to fire up the players and painting our faces with the war paint of our colors before the big game. But, then again, hasn’t every high schooler? Even if your respective high school’s mascot wasn’t a Native American warrior, did you not see students paint their faces before the game, or hear the chants they made? During my time in high school, I attended many football games, as I was in the marching band and an avid follower of my school’s football team. While traveling to all of our various games, and watching all of the home games, I observed the aforementioned practices from not just my team, but a lot of the other schools we have faced. Banging on buckets has been a practice at games for a very long time, done by many schools in the area, as has the painting of faces and chanting. One thing I have never witnessed is a direct targeting of a player or family on the sidelines of racist comments or practices.
The Warrior is more than just the mascot our school holds, or the name on the back of our jerseys. Our football team and all students, faculty, and administration under this honored title take it very seriously. The students of the school are held to very high standards of respect and dignity, and no racism, harassment, oppression, or abuse is or ever was tolerated on or off the football field. We all find a certain pride when we are announced as the “Warriors of Wells High School” and all of us walk with heads held high. To be a warrior is to be prideful, respectful, compassionate, and full of kindness. I have gone into this world knowing a sense of community, and understanding how much respect our true warriors deserve. I still hold immense pride in the warrior name, and I know for a fact my fellow alum do as well.
In closing, though I cannot attest to the singular experience during the mentioned time at Wells High School, I can tell everyone that we at the school, students, faculty, administration, and the community at large, hold ourselves to high standards and have immense respect, pride and compassion to the Native Americans and their warriors who represent our beloved school community. I, as a proud graduate, hold nothing but admiration for Native American culture, and hope to always represent the Warrior name as a symbol of courage, kindness, and respect.
With highest regards,Alum of Wells High School
What's your opinion? Was this racism or was it showing school spirit? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.