Haverhill Task Force Visits Boscawen, N.H., Friday to Learn of Hannah Duston Statue Plans

Hannah Duston statue in Boscawen, N.H. (Photograph by Craig Michaud at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15226877)

Haverhill’s Native American Commemorative Task Force is planning a Friday trip the Hannah Duston statue in Boscawen, N.H., as part of an informational and fact-finding visit.

Task Force Chair Dan Speers said members, observers and guests will have an opportunity to meet and have informal discussions with local residents and representatives of the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook-Abenaki.

Members and others are expected to gather first in Haverhill, Friday, July 8, at 1 p.m., for the 60-mile trip.

Speers notes in an email the statues in Boscawen and Haverhill were erected in the 1800s as “an admonition to Native Americans and to promote the idea of westward expansion. In recent years, the Abenaki and other indigenous groups, as well as residents, scholars and local municipalities, have voiced complaints, disagreements and debates over what to do with the statues.”

He added the group expects to learn about the current plans in New Hampshire and the approach proposed and approved by the Cowasuck band of the Pennacook Abenaki people and New Hampshire state officials.  A proposal includes renaming the New Hampshire site from the Hannah Duston Memorial Site to Unity Park N’dakinna, which means “our land” in Abenaki.

Members are reminded that disposition of the Hannah Duston statue in Haverhill is but one part of our overall charter dedicated to establishing a memorial in Haverhill that celebrates the history and heritage of the indigenous communities that lived, thrived and prospered in the pre-Columbian Merrimack Valley.

The Task Force was organized after vandalism at Haverhill’s Duston statue in 2020 added to historical complaints about racial stereotypes.

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