August 25, 2021
It was with surprise that we learned today of the William Blackstone statue erected in Pawtucket. It is regrettable that such a monument would be approved and given municipal funding without seeking more input from our Indigenous neighbors. Colonizers like Blackstone are a troubling feature of our American history and we would do well to reflect on the opinions of those who were on this land before us when considering public commemorations. We can only hope that this statue does indeed spark more conversation and a deeper look into the wrongdoing of the past, as the organizers of this effort say is their intent.
William Blackstone was a priest in the Church of England, precursor to the Episcopal Church in America. The “Doctrine of Discovery”, the world-view which allowed Blackstone and his followers to take this land from its inhabitants, was repudiated by the Episcopal Church at its General Convention in 2009.