State Capitol Mason statue debate opening old wounds


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The debate over the statue outside the state capitol depicting Capt. John Mason, the man who led the massacre of the Pequot Indians during the battle of Mystic in 1637, continued Thursday.

Historians say the statue should stay while Native Americans say it should go.

Historians, tribal leaders, and a descendent of Mason weighed in on a provision tucked into the state budget, which states the statue is to be removed from above an entrance at the Capitol building in Hartford.

The State Capitol Preservation and Restoration Commission conducted the forum.

“It depicts a constant hurt and wound to our people today and generations moving forward,” said Elders Council Chairwoman Majorie Colebut Jackson of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe.

Native American tribal members do not want this one-ton statue of Captain John Mason to be glorified on the front of the state capitol.

“To give something with so much ugliness a platform, a pedestal, he’s positioned pretty well on the building,” added Daniel Menihan of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe.

“John Mason’s statue should remain on view here at the capitol,” said Dr. Walter Woodward, the state historian.

Dr. Woodward said the realities of the 1673 Pequot Massacre are difficult.

“The Pequots attacked the town of Wethersfield where they killed seven men and two women and took two teenage girls hostage,” Dr. Woodward explained.

In a recorded message, Rodney Butler, the Pequot Tribal chairman, summed up Mason’s actions saying, “no doubt Mason engaged in what we now call a genocide. The question for us here in the year 2021 is whether a man who burned alive over 500 men, women, and children, systemically hunted and slaughtered any remaining members of the tribe, and attempted to irradicate an entire cultural identity, language, and heritage, deserves a place of distinction on the face of the Connecticut State Capitol?”

A descendant of Mason pulled no punches, saying this is Cancel Culture.

“The whole scenario is a frivolous waste of time,” said Marcus Mason Maronn, a descendant of John Mason. “If this was a court case it would be thrown out; there is no legal standing.”

The commission did not take a vote on Thursday. They will make a recommendation at the next meeting on Dec. 14.

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