Sara Harvey addresses the Wiscasset Board of Selectmen Oct. 7. (Charlotte Boynton photo)
By Charlotte Boynton
The Wiscasset Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to rename the recently named Redskin’s Drive to Micmac Drive at their meeting Tuesday, Oct. 7. This action followed a letter sent to the board by the property owners requesting a change to their private road name.
Sara Harvey, one of the property owners, told the selectmen the family would like to change the name to Micmac Drive to honor the ancestor of her father, a descendant of the Micmac tribe.
Selectman Pam Dunning said, “This is a lovely way to honor and respect their ancestors.”
“If this is what the property owners want, it is okay with me,” said Selectman William Barnes.
The motion to change the road name was made by Selectman Ben Rines.
During the selectmen’s Aug. 18 meeting, the property owners, for E911 purposes, asked to have their private be named. They submitted five choices for a road name, their number one choice being Redskin’s Drive.
Rines made a motion to give the property owners their first choice of Redskin’s Drive. The motion carried with a 3-1-1, three in favor, Dunning opposed, and Selectman Jeff Slack abstained.
This action brought criticism from the Penobscot Nation, and a letter was sent to the Wiscasset selectmen from Penobscot Nation Chief Kirk Francis asking the selectmen to overturn their decision in naming the road Redskin’s Drive.
Referring to Wiscasset’s former Redskins mascot, Chief Francis said, “We understand that change is difficult and people may feel nostalgic about certain aspects of their past, but we cannot quietly accept a sentimentality that hurts our people.”
“Any use of this term, as the name of a sports team mascot or a road, with or without an apostrophe, is extremely offensive to the Penobscot Nation, and has a negative impact on the health and well-being of our children, families, and the tribe as a whole,” the chief said in his letter.
Chief Francis was unable to be reached for comment by press time.