The statue is coming back soon to be re-installed, but an interesting argument has risen about whether that's a good idea.
You may remember the statue of an Indian chief that stood prominently at the top of State Street. It was removed during the long Capitol renovation project. Now the question is: Why honor a Massachusetts Indian in a state named after the Utes?
Chief Massasoit is temporarily cooling his heels in Lehi. In the next few weeks, the statue will be re-installed on a new base at the main east entrance to the Utah State Capitol.
"We wanted to make sure we had placed it in a significant and important location that was both good for the statue and good for the people," said David Hart, architect of the Capitol renovation.
But Utah Navajo Tom Lovell is not eager to see the statue come back. Chief Massasoit lived in Massachusetts, not Utah.
"It would be like having a picture of the governor of Massachusetts in the rotunda with the Utah governor. It doesn't make any sense. It would be like having a statue of the Pope on Temple Square," Lovell said.
He thinks the capitol should honor Utah Indians. "I mean, you could pick five of the different tribes, but the Ute tribe ought to be here," he said.
1) Put up a statue to a Utah Indian instead of a Massachusetts Indian.
2) Put up a multitribal display that honors Utah's Indians or all Indians.
3) Put up a statue of Massasoit that's historically accurate. This statue looks like thousands of other stereotypical statues. Surround it with the multitribal display.
4) Put up a historically accurate statue of Massasoit alone.
5) Put up the existing statue of Massasoit but surround it with the multitribal display.
6) Put up the existing statue of Massasoit but add a plaque explaining what it's doing there and how it has nothing to do with Utah history.
7) Put up the existing statue of Massasoit alone. (This is presumably the default "solution.")
8) Put up nothing. (Sometimes no honor is better than a flawed honor, but a stereotypical Massasoit statue still may educate someone.)
To see a video on the subject, follow the link. For more on the subject, see Best Indian Monuments to Topple.