Windsor town officials are discussing the removal of a controversial statue and this time, it's not of Christopher Columbus.
Windsor's longtime mayor Don Trinks told NBC Connecticut that the town received the statue of Major John Mason in the late 1990s after Mystic no longer wanted it.
Trinks says the statue was previously vandalized when it first arrived in Windsor about twenty years ago. And it was also vandalized just about two weeks ago with red paint.
It's Mason's link to a massacre that is prompting calls for this statue to be removed.
“I think what we’ve done here since we got it does not really stress his actions towards the indigenous people. He was the deputy governor. He held some other offices here in CT. He did have a distinguished political career in town. But it’s overshadowed and rightfully so, I believe by leading a massacre in the middle of the night that killed anywhere from four to 700 native Americans," Trinks said.
The mayor believes the decision to remove the statue is up to the state which owns it and is deeded the land where it stands. But he hopes wherever it ends up, people can learn more about the darker sides of Mason’s legacy, including the massacre.
“I understand, you know, the pure historian townies say ‘hey this is part of the history we can’t change it.’ The other side goes to the extreme of let’s take the thing down and melt it and let’s not talk about it again," Trinks said.
The statue's plaque says it has been on the sacred site of the 1637 Pequot War and was removed out of respect.
Trinks says a conversation will continue, including with community members, direct descendants of Mason, some of whom live locally, tribal leaders and the historical society.
"It’s a very emotional subject here in town and I understand, you know, the pure historian townies say ‘hey this is part of the history we can’t change it.’ The other side goes to the extreme of let’s take the thing down and melt it and let’s not talk about it again," Trinks said.
The mayor hopes that wherever the statue ends up, there's more education about the darker sides of Mason's imprint on history.