controversial statues

John Mason Statue at Capitol Gets Temporary Reprieve

NBC Connecticut

The controversial statue of Captain John Mason, who led the massacre of the Pequot Indians during the battle of Mystic in 1637, will stay on the state Capitol a little longer. 

“It was an ugly complicated, conflicted past. There are no good guys,” State Historian Walt Woodward said.

Woodward said the John Mason statute should stay on the state Capitol building despite funding to remove it.

“It is not a case of the terrible bloodthirsty English and the mild-mannered peaceable indigenous people. There was enough atrocity on both sides to make your head spin,” Woodward said.

There was $15,000 in the state budget to remove the statue from the Capitol. But the bids came in much higher. 

“It’s over $50,000,” Eric Connery of Legislative Management said. 

That means four legislative leaders will need to review the bids. 

“The reason the price has gone up considerably is there are a lot of unknowns in terms of how that statue is attached or any of the statues are attached,” Connery explained.

Connery added: “without basically trying to lift a statue those that will go unanswerable until somebody actually tries to do it.” 

In the meantime, a little-known Connecticut State Capitol Preservation and Restoration Commission will hold an informational hearing on its removal in November. 

“He actually committed genocide and while he is a part of history I think we have to look at that place as a place of honor,’ Sen. Cathay Osten, D-Sprague, said.

Not everyone agrees. 

“With tremendous respect to all of the indigenous tribes of Connecticut, I would personally, I’m in favor of keeping that thing. Because as part of the history. There is a reason that the people of Connecticut honored Mason for many years,” Woodward said.

Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Chairman Rodney Butler said sports betting was not the greatest accomplishment of the past legislative session. 

“It was the Mason statute coming down from the state capitol building,” Butler said. 

Butler pointed out that this year is the 383rd anniversary of the Treaty of Hartford which tried to abolish the Pequot tribe and ban their tribal name. 

“Pequots no longer existed based on that treaty,” Butler said.  

Osten said that’s why she fought to get the Mason statue taken down. 

“I think that it’s very clear that what they were trying to do was to eliminate a whole civilization and that’s not right and should not be honored,” Osten said.

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