A carving, created during the construction of the building in 1929, depicts a Puritan settler holding a musket pointed toward the head of a Native American. During renovation of the building to accommodate the Center for Teaching and Learning, the project team in consultation with Yale’s Committee on Art in Public Spaces determined that leaving the depiction in place would have the unintended effect of giving it a place of honor that it does not deserve. The university consulted faculty and other scholarly experts, who concluded that the image depicts a scene of warfare and colonial violence toward local Native American inhabitants.
Have They Forgotten?
The Iroquois flanking parties cut off the Yankee retreat to Forty Fort and placed them in a bloody crossfire from both the British Rangers and Pennamites. For the rest of the day, Connecticut militiamen were tortured, slain, and in some cases scalped. Many Yankees “plunged themselves into the Susquehanna River with the hope of escaping, only to be pierced with the lances of the Indians.” By dawn, the following morning, their “carcasses floated down river, infesting the banks of the Susquehanna.” Only sixty of the Yankee militiamen who marched into battle survived. The Iroquois took the scalps of 227 slain Yankees, in spite of the British order to “respect their remains.”