SALEM, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The Mayor of Salem has filed a petition to move a portrait of Andrew Jackson from Salem's City Council Chamber, and plans to replace it with a portrait of a Native American figure from the town's history.
"We're hoping to locate the Andrew Jackson portrait to another section in City Hall and replace it with a portrait of somebody representative of the indigenous people here in Salem," Mayor Kim Driscoll told WBZ NewsRadio's Carl Stevens.
According to The Salem News, the city would like to replace Jackson's portrait with one of the leader of the Naumkeag tribe, to be painted by a Native American artist.
The tribe was native to the Salem area before the city was settled by Europeans in 1626.
"Salem has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to our history, but one part of it that isn't highly profiled are the indigenous people who were here and led us to a place where we could settle this great city," Driscoll said. "It just seems fitting, given the time and place we are, that we start to recognize that part of our history."
To some extent, it also has to do with the fact that Andrew Jackson didn't treat Native Americans very well in his time.
"It's definitely part of the tortured history with Andrew Jackson, frankly, the genocide that occurred of Native American people," she said. "In this instance, it's really, I think, a two-fer—less about replacing Andrew Jackson, and more about wanting to recognize folks who were here before us and contributed to what makes our city such a special place today."
WBZ NewsRadio's Carl Stevens (@carlwbz) reports