In this Jan. 15, 2019, photo, Skowhegan Area High School cheerleaders stand beneath a mural of the school's mascot on the wall of the gymnasium in Skowhegan. Skowhegan school officials have received hundreds of suggestions for a new mascot after retiring a Native American mascot and nickname last year. Credit: Michael G. Seamans | Portland Press Herald via AP

SKOWHEGAN — After more than a year of trying to find a new mascot — along with controversy —- the Skowhegan-area school district chose the “River Hawks” as its new moniker during its meeting Thursday night.

There were 15 votes in favor of the name, with five votes against it. Thursday night’s board meeting was the last step in moving forward on an issue that had divided the school community.

“I’m really glad it’s behind us now,” Board Chair Lynda Quinn said.

Last year, a state law banned Indigenous Native American imagery as any part of public school branding or mascots, but the fight over the “Indians” nickname has gone back for years.

A group called Not Your Mascot, Maine petitioned the board for another moniker in 2016, saying the mascot was racist. The board voted to drop the name in March 2019.

“All the imagery that goes along with the River Hawks, because it is reflective of our community,” Board Member Michael Lake said. “Our community is in the river valley.It’s a strong bird who is resourceful and defends its territory well, so there’s all these great images you can work with River Hawks.”

Quinn said students should have a hand in designing the River Hawks mascot and logos.