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Monumental MobilityThe Memory Work of Massasoit$
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Lisa Blee and Jean M. O'Brien

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469648408

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469648408.001.0001

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(p.7) Introduction
Monumental Mobility

Lisa Blee

Jean M. O’Brien

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter explains the connection between monuments and the stories about the past they convey to viewers over time. While monuments are considered static and place-bound, this statue of the Massasoit became mobile in numerous ways: in stories that travel with the viewer; as small replicas carried away as souvenirs or purchased as art across the country and the world; and in full-sized casts installed in diverse public settings in the Midwest and West. This chapter argues that the fact that the statue represents a Native leader with a connection to the story of the first Thanksgiving makes its mobility uniquely revealing of the fraught historical memory of colonialism in the U.S. This chapter introduces the argument that Wampanoag and other Native peoples have long resisted, challenged, and refigured the popular celebratory story of peaceful colonization often attached to the figure of the Massasoit. This chapter also introduces the history of the Thanksgiving myth, recounts Wampanoag and English settler relations, explains the popular interest in Indian statuary, and provides background on the public art movement that lead to the commission of the Massasoit statue.

Keywords:   Massasoit, Plymouth, MA, public history, settler colonialism, Thanksgiving myth, Improved Order of Red Men, Cyrus Dallin, public memorials, monuments, Indian statuary

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