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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)

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)

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.

SUSAN McKEVITT

Bradford

Legacy Comments11

How quickly some people want to judge history, it is pretty simplistic to think that way. Hindsight is 20:20 but honestly are we not better than that as a people. Yesterday I heard on the radio that a school was renamed because it was originally named after a confederate soldier. Political correctness runs amok. It does not take much to criticize thing of the past that were once considered acceptable and trash our ancestors in 2014.

Rush again?

No, my words and thoughts. Were you around when Hannah scalped those braves?

That is not very nice Itsa, sounds like something Scott Brown would say. But I think at that time my ancestors were still picking spuds for the English invaders. I was referring to your radio listening, I am sure it was not PBS even though you seem to get a lot of information from it.

The confederate soldier you refer to was actually the founder of the KKK, that is a bit different.

Well, Susan, get out your checkbook.............BTW, I like Hunter Dan's idea. There's plenty of room for another statue.

If you're offended by the practice of scalping . . . then perhaps Miss Dustin isn't a role model that we should be erecting monuments to.

I am not offended by her scalping, given the twisting of facts thru the years I highly doubt any account is accurate. Given the extent of the genocide we unleashed on the Indians since our first settlement, we as a people really have nothing to be proud of when it comes to this chapter in our history. I suppose General Custer is considered a hero?

I guess that what is offensive is that people who are now living 200-300 years after the fact or 7-8 generations laters are walking around like peacocks cackling about how our ancestors were terrible, etc. My great grandfather was 1/16 Abenaki. I wonder if I could claim Native American like Liz Warren did? I looked at my mothers cheekbones and they were very high.

Why would you think that? I said that perhaps she SHOULDN'T be a hero. Why would you think that Custer should be? BTW, I'm 1/16th Cherokee . . . what about you?

I have a better idea . . . put a statue of a Native American warrior next to Miss Dustin holding her dead babies.

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