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Dartmouth to replace ‘offensive’ weather vane

  • A petition is being circulated decrying the weather vane atop Dartmouth College’s Baker Library in Hanover, N.H., as racist, and asking for its removal, Thursday, June 11, 2020. The weathervane depicts Dartmouth founder Eleazar Wheelock with a Native American smoking a long pipe near a barrel of rum and a tree. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Baker Tower rises above downtown Hanover, N.H., Thursday, June 11, 2020. A petition is being circulated decrying the weather vane, depicting Dartmouth founder Eleazar Wheelock with a Native American smoking a long pipe near a barrel of rum and a tree, as racist and asking for its removal. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 6/15/2020 1:16:45 PM
Modified: 6/15/2020 9:24:32 PM

HANOVER — Dartmouth College on Monday said it will take down and replace a 600-pound copper weather vane atop its main library after Native American students and professors said it depicted racist stereotypes.

“It is clear that the images portrayed on the weather vane do not reflect Dartmouth’s values,” college President Phil Hanlon said in a news release from the college, which also said the weather vane “represents an offensive image of a Native American.”

Dartmouth plans to create a working group to consider what will replace the current weather vane and also if there are other areas on campus where the iconography should be replaced, the college said.

A Native American student group on Friday told the Valley News the weather vane atop the tower of Baker Library “flaunts a racist depiction” and also was a “patronizing and stereotypical depiction of Native peoples.”

The weather vane depicts college founder Eleazar Wheelock sitting next to what the college acknowledges has long “presumed to be a barrel of rum” while lecturing to a Native American student, who is wearing feathers, smoking a long pipe and sitting on the ground. It also includes a tree that represents Dartmouth’s treasured Lone Pine.

Erected in 1928, the weather vane is almost 9 feet long and 7 feet tall.

Wheelock established Dartmouth in 1769 with a mission to educate Native Americans, but the Ivy League school did little on that front until 1970, when then-President John Kemeny established Dartmouth’s Native American Program and the college began actively recruiting Native American students.

Hanover resident David Vincelette, a Dartmouth alumnus, had started a change.org petition a few weeks ago calling for the removal of the weather vane. It had attracted little attention until late last week but as of early Monday afternoon had almost 600 signatures.

College officials said the current weather vane will be removed as soon as can be arranged.

Dartmouth said its Guarini School for Graduate and Advanced Studies, whose shield also features Baker Tower and the weather vane, will modify that logo to reflect whatever change is ultimately made.




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