Letter: Scalps should not be part of Hannah Duston memorial
The Bureau of Historic Sites wants to revamp the Hannah Duston Memorial State Historic Site to clean it up and provide more context about the history of the site. They also want to return its name to Contoocook Island State Historic Site. Some Boscawen residents are opposed to it. (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »
Monday’s article regarding renaming the Hannah Duston memorial site (“Memorial renaming plan nixed,” Monitor front page) left out a critical issue that has been raised by Native and non-Native people alike. That is the inclusion in the current statue of 10 scalps allegedly obtained by Duston in her escape from captivity.
The historical truth of her story is irrelevant to me. What is totally relevant is the inclusion of the scalps. If the state or the town of Boscawen wishes to acknowledge the creation of the first statue to honor a woman, I’m all for it. Replacing the currently offensive one with one that excludes the scalps can do this.
The English established scalping of Native Americans with different prices put on for men, women and children. It was a disgusting and inhumane practice and should not be memorialized in a statue any more than lynching of African Americans should be.
Removing the current statue and replacing it with a more dignified and less offensive one could engender needed healing and should be part of the continuing discussion of the park.