john mason

Fate of Capitol Statue Debated

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There’s an embattled statue at the Capitol - Captain John Mason led the massacre of the Pequot Indians in 1637. Some say it needs to come down, but not everyone.

“The atrocities that were committed by John Mason at the time in today’s standards would be as was argued in there would be considered war crimes,” Wolf Jackson, an elder with the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation, said.  

Jackson said the statue of Mason should be removed to the Old State House.

“You’ll notice no statutes of Hitler anywhere in the world for obvious reasons. We would never want to highlight a person like that,” Jackson said.

Mason, one of the founders of Connecticut, led the infamous attack against the Eastern Pequots in Mystic in 1637, killing nearly 500 Native Americans and enslaving others.

State Historian Walt Woodward said the statue on the north side of the building with other founders should stay and it should be used to educate.

“That we recognize this is the place whereas they originally designed it we should tell Connecticut's history. The bad parts and the good parts. The way people’s values change over time,” Woodward said.

A 10th generation descendant of Mason also believes the statue should stay.

“The statues represent Mason for his entire career as a dedicated public servant. He was the preeminent founder of the Connecticut colony, he deserves to be honored for many, many positions and accomplishments. That's what the statues represent,” Marcus Mason Maronn said.

He said it wasn’t one-sided.

“They don’t like to admit that their own people were equally guilty of attempting to annihilate the colonists,” Maronn said.

That’s not necessarily how the tribes see it.

“When we talk about the Mystic fort, there is no fort. There’s the Mystic Village. We’re talking about somebody’s household. So it was a household that was attacked,” Daniel Menihan, Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council member, said. 

Menihan said removing it is appropriate.

“Repositioning of history to make those who won sound patriotic,” Menihan said.

The state Capitol Preservation and Restoration Commission will make a recommendation about the future of the statue at their Dec. 14 meeting.

“I understand that people want to teach history but there's a way to teach history and you don’t teach history by showing atrocities. You teach history by making sure those atrocities are not committed. You talk about them, you don’t have to share them,” Jackson said.

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