© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Preservation and Restoration Commission weighs removal of John Mason statue

Connecticut State Capitol
Jim Bowen
Creative Commons

The Connecticut State Capitol Preservation and Restoration Commission heard from the public on Nov. 18 on whether to take down the statue of John Mason from the Capitol building in Hartford.

Chairperson Emil “Buddy” Altobello led this meeting.

Mason was a colonial-era war figure who led a massacre of Pequot Indians in the 1600s. Critics said the statue should be removed because of Mason’s involvement in genocide while scholars argued that the statue should remain for educational purposes.

The majority of speakers supported removing the statue, including Shirley “Laughing Woman” Patrick.

Patrick is the vice chairwoman of the Elders Council of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, and voiced her support for taking the statue down.

“The bones of our Ancestors, their blood and bones are all over Connecticut. You walk upon their bones, you walk upon their blood, they’re there - during this moment in time, are crying out for something to be done,” Patrick said.

While the majority of speakers supported removing the statue, some wanted it to stay.

One of those voices was from the State Historian Walter Woodward, who said it is important to keep the statue to show different perspectives about the Pequot War.

Another supporter of taking Mason’s statue down, Manisha Sinha, the James L. and Shirley A. Draper Chair in American History, at the University of Connecticut, says that statues do not preserve history.

“Statues commemorate certain aspects, certain people in our history. This should be really made clear, because we, as historians, write books and articles on history. If you want to learn the history of the Pequot War, settler colonialism, or of Indian dispossession, you have numerous books and articles that have been written, at least since the 1960s on Native American history.”

Several Tribal Elders and educators suggested relocating the statue to a museum, where it could be displayed with more educational context.

The Commission will meet on Dec. 14 to make a final decision.

Deidre Montague is the Fall 2021 Gwen Ifill Integrity in News intern
Catherine is the Host of Connecticut Public’s morning talk show and podcast, Where We Live. Catherine and the WWL team focus on going beyond the headlines to bring in meaningful conversations that put Connecticut in context.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.