Native American Monument
This monument is located in my hometown of Victor, NY not far from RIT. Our area, and notably, my town are rich with Native American history. The monument specifically is dedicated to the memory of Athasata (though he is also know by many other names as well), a Mohawk chief who notably converted to Christianity and fought alongside the French in battle. One piece the Biesecker reading emphasized about the World War II monument was its location in the center of Washington. It made me think of this. Living quite literally across the street from the moument’s present location in the heart of Victor’s village for most of my childhood, I noticed it in passing, but I wonder if others ever do. It’s right next to a building, and the crosswalk in the center of town, so it is in what should be a prime location. Somehow though, it manages to be obscured. The monument is in a really central place, but it is surrounded by so much action and so many other buildings it fades into the surroundings if you aren’t totally looking for it. The monument, I learned from my father, used to be in a different part of town. Its old location, prior to road construction that caused the move, was much less busy. A lot of through traffic surrounded it, but it wasn’t surrounded by so many other things, so it likely stood out much more. What I noticed was absent from its current space was anything to emphasize it or set it apart from the scene it is in. I’d imagine this was less problematic where the monument used to be. Ironically, this sort of fits the narrative of Native American history as I remember growing up in Victor. Its important to highlight it, but for how rich in history our area is, it gets pretty glazed over. You visit the sites in elementary school, but by the time we were old enough to really understand more of our own local history, we were learning other histories instead. In the same way, this monument exists and that in itself indicates how important this history and this man are to our area’s history, but at the same time it was also a monument that was moved and placed in a far more forgettable location. It’s recognized, and it’s there, but often no one goes deeper than that.