Students urge Dartmouth to take down ‘racist’ weather vane

June 13, 2020 GMT

HANOVER, N.H. (AP) — Students and alumni are asking Dartmouth College to take down a campus weather vane that critics say includes a racist depiction of a Native American.

The copper weather vane, which sits atop the school’s main library, depicts college founder Eleazar Wheelock sitting before a Native American who is smoking a long pipe. Behind Wheelock is a pine tree and a barrel that some believe represents a keg of rum.

The Valley News reports that a Native American student group at Dartmouth called the fixture racist and demeaning, saying it’s a “patronizing and stereotypical depiction of Native peoples.”


The group, Native Americans at Dartmouth, said removal of the weather vane “would be a welcome and long overdue change.”

A petition started by a Dartmouth alumnus urges the college to take the weather vane down, calling it “a sad reference to the plight alcoholism and drug addiction played in the stealing of native lands to found Dartmouth College.”

About 200 people had signed the petition as of Saturday.

Dartmouth spokeswoman Diana Lawrence told The Valley News that officials understand and respect the community’s position.

“After some consultation and additional consideration, we will determine what is the most appropriate action,” Lawrence said in a statement.

Dartmouth’s website says the weather vane dates to the 1920s and stands nearly 7 feet (2.1 meters) tall. It was designed by an architect and chosen through a contest as the library was being built.

The website says that, while some believe the barrel represents a keg of rum, “some say it is the pivot point for the weather vane.”