Controversial carving to be removed at Yale University

A carving with a gun pointed at a Native American is scheduled for removal


Mary Alphonse, Author

Amid chaos in Charlottesville, Virginia, a similar issue is underway at one of the nation’s top Ivy League schools, Yale University. The New Haven, Connecticut based university is facing a controversial battle under the topic of a stone carving depicting a Puritan settler aiming a musket at a Native American.


The 88-year old carving, described as “problematic” by Yale, has brought much attention to the university as people argue whether it is up for historical purposes and is harmless, or whether it is depicting violence and therefore is inappropriate in a school environment or offensive to Native Americans. Yale President Peter Salovey commented on this in a statement saying, “Alteration [to art on campus] represents an erasure of history, which is entirely inappropriate at a university. We are obligated to allow students and others to view such images, even when they are offensive, and to study and learn from them.” Yale has stressed that they encourage viewing the carving for studying and historical reasons.


The historical aspect of this carving along with any memorial that depicts a violent or sensitive part in history is greatly taken into account when deciding whether or not something should be removed. Battlefield junior Micayla Sarmiento comments on this saying, “By removing the art, there would be a much deeper meaning in the action; sweeping oppression under the rug is never okay. No matter how many years it’s been since the initial incident, moral justice should always take place and historical facts should be carried through generations to avoid repeating history.” Sarmiento also comments, “While it is showing some of the more shameful parts of American history, the art captures what happened.”


Memorials, statues, and carvings continue to be removed all across America as people argue their offensive context and meaning. President Trump claims the removal of these memorials is “changing history.” Yale has reiterated that the carving was on display for historical reasons and not to ‘glorify’ the event.


Different stances on this topic and ones like it are flooding the news. Junior Fabiola Garcia says, “People are using it as a symbol to worship or recreate these horrific events, and that’s not what they’re there for.”


The carving is currently placed at the main entrance of the Center for Teaching and Learning. The musket held by the Puritan settler is also covered by a removable stone covering that Yale officials say will be removed once the carving is replaced.


The removal of the carving is scheduled for Tuesday, September 5 and although the new location of the carving has not been determined, it will be open to the public for viewing.