Massachusetts town to cover up plaque showing land was bought, not stolen, from Indian tribe

Massachusetts town to cover up plaque showing land was bought, not stolen, from Indian tribe

It’s very offensive to some progressives to point out the inconvenient fact that much of the land transferred by Native Americans to whites in the United States was sold by Native Americans, not taken by force. The Native American population was so depleted by disease in the 17th Century that Indian tribes could afford to sell some of their land to whites, because they weren’t using most of it. Selling land they didn’t need made sense — they could use the money they got for the land to buy firearms or metal-tipped arrows to defend themselves against hostile tribes, and to buy other useful things, like pots and pans, cotton and wool cloth, and metal tools needed to improve their agricultural output.

A great deal of land was voluntarily sold to settlers by Native Americans. Legal historian Stuart Banner’s book “How the Indians Lost Their Land” explains this. Some land changed hands through “consensual transactions,” and other land through “violent conquest.” You can also learn about this subject by viewing the educational video, “Are We Living on Stolen Land?”

But some progressives want to leave the false impression that all the land was stolen from the Indians, to make America appear more racist. That’s what they imply through the “land acknowledgments” that they recite in academia and progressive high-tech firms, where people will recite that they are on the land of this or that Native American people, often claiming that a tribe lived on that land “since time immemorial.”

In reality, the Indian tribe they describe as having lived on that land may only have lived on that land for a century or two before whites arrived, and may have exterminated the Indian tribe that previously occupied that land, or driven the original inhabitants away. Native Americans came to North America at different times, and routinely displaced or exterminated other tribes in the process.

But the progressive leaders of Concord, Massachusetts, are hiding that historical reality. Concord officials recently voted to cover up historically inconvenient plaques, including one that commemorated the sale of land by a local Indian tribe to white settlers. As a resident notes, “The sign pictured reflects the inconvenient non-narrative-supporting fact that early settlers bought their land from the locals. Who, in the case of the Wampanoags in what is now southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, had made an alliance with the English to strengthen themselves against the threat from the Narragansetts to the west.”

The Boston Herald reports:

Concord officials are looking to cover up signs that have stood in town for nearly a century because they say the plaques have lost their appeal and are offensive to Indigenous people.

In 1930, the Massachusetts Bay Colony Tercentenary Commission distributed three markers to the town as part of an initiative recognizing the 300th anniversary of the original colony’s founding.

The Select Board this week voted to cover up the signs, a step that officials say was needed to create a more respectful community for all.

The signs convey what life was like close to four centuries ago when settlers founded the town in 1635…..The markers highlight an oak tree that settlers bought from Indians for the town’s incorporation, the site of an Indian fishing weir and a slope where settlers built their first dwellings.

Select Board member Mark Howell, who sits on the town’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Commission, said he feels… the markers  “represent an ongoing harm to people visiting our community.” We really do need to move with some haste to mitigate that and stop displaying the signs,” he said.

“There’s Indigenous scholars who’ve told us these things need to come down,” DEI Commission Co-Chair Joe Palumbo told the Select Board.

“I guarantee you, if we had a sign in town today across the street that said, ‘Enslavement taught many people good skills that they used later in life,’ [we’d] be taking that down by tomorrow morning,” Palumbo said.

LU Staff

LU Staff

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