Wisconsin College Removes Historical Paintings of Native Americans After Diversity Group Complains

Heat Street – by Nahema Marchal

The University of Wisconsin-Stout has decided to take down historical paintings that show interactions between white settlers and First Nations people because of their potentially “harmful” effects on students and viewers. The move was sparked by complaints from a diversity group.

One of the paintings shows French fur traders canoeing down the Red Cedar River with American Indians; the other is of a French fort. Both were painted by artist Cal Peters in 1936 and were recently restored with funding by the Wisconsin Historical Society.  

After 80 years of decorating the university’s Harvey Hall, the paintings caught the attention of the school’s Diversity Leadership Team (DLT), which complained to the administration that this depiction of First Nations people reinforced racial stereotypes and promoted “acts of domination and oppression.”

After a series of consultations with students, Chancellor Bob Meyer announced the works would removed from the first and second floors of Harvey Hall, as they risked “having a harmful effect on our students and other viewers.”

If the paintings are displayed,  it should be in a “controlled gallery space,” he said, with appropriate “context”for viewers. However, the school says that for now, Peters’ works will most likely stay out of public view.

“There’s a segment of Native American students, that when they look at the art, to them it symbolizes an era of their history where land and possessions were taken away from them, and they feel bad when they look at them,” Meyer told Wisconsin Public Radio. 

“Perrault’s Trading Fort” by Cal Peters
"French Trappers on The Red Cedar" by Cal Peters
“French Trappers on The Red Cedar” by Cal Peters

 

The incident at UW-Stout is the latest in a string of similar controversies surrounding historical paintings, statues and symbols considered reminders of hatred and violence. In May, a complaint was leveled against Norwalk City Hall in Connecticut for displaying a mural showing African-American slaves working along the Mississippi River in the 19th century. After a quorum of residents deemed the painting “inappropriate” for a public building, the mural was removed and placed in storage.

In August last year the University of Texas at Austin took down an imposing statue of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, that had been on campus since 1933. At the University of Kentucky, a mural showing African American slaves picking tobacco was shrouded in white fabric in December, following complaints from students of color.

In response to the action at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, the National Coalition Against Censorship wrote a letter to Meyer arguing that “removing representations of historically oppressed groups from view will not change the facts of history.”

Heat Street

8 thoughts on “Wisconsin College Removes Historical Paintings of Native Americans After Diversity Group Complains

  1. Dammit, I am a U.W. Stout graduate and I am appalled by this ridiculous decision. It’s our heritage, it’s our history, and they want to hide it in a closet somewhere.

    Pinhead administrators, bent on diversity, will display all of the Nigerian cultural artifacts but not our own. Nigerians have a subculture at U.W. Stout and have many graduates from the university over the years.

    It is with great sadness we allow this to happen. I just can’t believe it!
    Whoever made this decision should be publically flogged.

      1. It’s the white man’s apology tour. “Diversity”, call it what it really is, diluting the people of our nation with third worlders until we’re a third world country. To hell with our heritage!

        We all need our heads examined.

  2. Now they have a problem with native Americans, too? Is there any way to portray human beings that doesn’t offend these idiots? How about turning the redskins into yellow skins, and the Frenchmen into blacks? Or maybe we should change their skin tone every week, so everyone gets a chance to cry about it.

    I guess American history isn’t politically correct enough for the “Diversity Leadership Team”, who are undoubtedly a gang of annoying Jewish homosexuals that no one wants to date. They’re going to cry until we all have the rainbow flag tattooed on our faces, so you may as well start ignoring them now.

  3. I once had my lunch money stolen from me on the bus ride to school…now when i see school buses i feel sad and poor… could someone help me ban school buses ??? ( or Ill just take a check,)

  4. The administration did the right thing by removing these irreplaceable paintings from possible damage by these anarchists. When the Commie Parade passes by, they can rehang them in a suitable place of honor.

  5. What disgusts me more than anything, why won’t the president of the college or someone in authority stand up to these sniveling cowards?

    1. “… why won’t the president of the college or someone in authority stand up to these sniveling cowards?”

      Because they’re all in agreement.

      Communists through & through.

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