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    Op-Ed
    Wednesday, August 10, 2022

    'We must learn to live with our complex history'

    Sadly, The Day editorial staff, many Pequots and a small percentage of Connecticut residents can't see the forest for the trees. Their view/perspective is clouded by their emotions and blocked by the utilization of the improper label and poisonous word — genocide.

    The appropriate term for that era is annihilation, which the Pequots' Sassacus made many piecemeal attempts against the English colonists. They only succeeded in forcing the nascent settlements, along with the Mohegans and Narragansetts, to retaliate; and they got what they deserved, albeit in a horrific manner. The anger and bitterness passed down for 12 generations still consumes today's Pequots and will never go away, even if both of Masons statues are destroyed.

    The 1889 Mystic statue, which originally represented the 1637 massacre, was removed from its sacred site and rebirthed to de-glorify that event. This was a win/win scenario but some people are never satisfied and only want total character assassination. The John Mason statue on the Capitol does not represent the Pequot War but the nearby carved scene of the battle does and perhaps should be covered up? The Mason figure unquestionably deserves to remain and honor him for his many accomplishments as a founding father. Despite some peoples sensitivities, everyone needs to recognize and honor our inalienable right to freedom of expression, which is something a newspaper should understand better than others who tend to ignore it.

    Sen. Cathy Osten has some positive accomplishments in her career but this backwards mission to remove Mason's statue from our majestic Capitol building is not valid in a historical context. We simply must learn to live with our complex history — both the good and the bad aspects. Her recommendation to review all the other founders' statues is fraught with endless danger — we might as well just remove all of them because no one is perfect. Let us start with Gov. John Winthrop Jr. who owned slaves and was the founder of Nameag/New London in 1646. He rewarded his friendly servant Robin Cassacinimon and a group of surviving Pequots their first reservation at Noank. This  was in direct violation to the Treaty of Hartford, which was a failed attempt to settle ongoing disputes between the Mohegans and Narragansetts over the surviving Pequot captives. Everyone ignored this treaty and continued to acknowledge the original Pequots by that name, which is why they are still a legal tribal entity today.

    Will The Day support a request to remove the statue of John Winthrop Jr. from the Capitol along with many others? I think not, so don't mess with Mason.

    Marcus Mason Maronn, a descendant, lives in Old Lyme.

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