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Students try to get BU to change name of dorm that honors Myles Standish, who invited several native leaders to a peace council, then killed them

More than 170 Boston University student groups have asked the school to rename Myles Standish Hall as Wituwamat Memorial Hall in honor of one of the indigenous leaders Myles Standish massacred in what is now Weymouth in 1623 after inviting them to "a peaceful summit." The university has no connections to Standish; it kept the name after it bought the Myles Standish Hotel in 1949.

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Comments

This is beyond ridiculous.

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Voting closed 68

It's ridiculous to keep names honoring terrible people, especially when those people have zero to do with the thing named for them

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Voting closed 123

What would you propose we change the name of Martin Luther King Day to? For all the good he did, his misdeeds are plentiful and well documented for anyone who cares to read up on them.

See, it's a slippery slope.

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Voting closed 47

Who did MLK slaughter?

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But I am all for fully examining our heroes and what their legacies mean

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Voting closed 27

[Replied to wrong comment. This is meant for the comment above. ]

Which misdeeds of MLK are on par with genocide!? Please list.

Also, MLK is arguably the most important and consequential American of the twentieth century. Like, whatever “good” Myles Standish is known for, he doesn’t even rate top 50 Massachusetts residents of all time. He’s not even a “hero” the same way MLK is, unless you’re downloading the Nick Fuentes or Proud Boy podcasts.

Sure, we should not belittle that MLK stepped out on Coretta or that he held misogynistic views, blocked the path for women activists to fully participate, and held unfriendly views to the gay community. And yeah, talk about the plaigiarism. He did far more good for this country—for every citizen—and for the world then the sum of his flaws.

But in no way is pointing out that Standish was a butcher* whose reputation has been whitewashed a “slippery slope” to canceling MLK. This is the stupidest of false equivalences. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

[*corrected butcher because autocorrect inserted a misogynistic slur.]

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Voting closed 57

since according to yoo they are equally as evil (shouldnt the killer that at least attended b.u. be honored there) ?

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Voting closed 7

Sell the naming rights to the highest bidder. Problem solved.

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As long as they charge enough to pay for another student to attend this fine institution

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I'm neither agreeing nor disagreeing with you here, but there's a thought out argument in favor of doing something and your only argument in opposition is that it is "beyond ridiculous" and I just don't find that to be a very compelling nor equivalent counter-argument.

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Voting closed 49

It all happened. You can't bury it like cat poop in the litter box.

Whether is for an old hotel or a killer pilgrim, it come to the same. I wouldn't want my kids growing up saying who is Myles Standish? Who is Martin Luther King? Who is Teddy Roosevelt?

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When the curious look up Wituwamat, they will find out about Standish, just as much as if they were curious about Standish and looked him up directly.

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Voting closed 46

So you are tired of seeing history UNBURIED?

Because the history you learned isn't what was buried or is being buried - you seem to have an issue with the history that is being exhumed interfering with your tidy hero worship.

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Voting closed 28

look at the name of a BU dorm and conduct extensive reading on the historical significance of the person it is named after? There's a non-zero chance it has happened, but broadly speaking, I doubt it happens very often.

Naming buildings and landmarks after people in history is not a substitute for actually learning about history. If I never go anywhere near BU, I'll probably never see the name on the dorm, so there's no benefit to my general historical knowledge from the name being assigned to a specific building.

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Voting closed 24

The Myles Standish that the BU dorm, formerly the Myles Standish Hotel, is named after is not a historical figure, but a character in a fairy tale by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

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Voting closed 29

It is still on a MA State Forest Go learn your history about him there.

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https://universalhub.com/comment/913829#comment-913829

Not the exact same scenario but certainly on the same vein of taking a critical look at history. Maybe you hadn't seen that thread, maybe its a careful omission, who knows.

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Voting closed 12

I'm an Anglophile. I loved the Queen. Which of course means I'm terrible person who is in favor of killing Irishmen, of course. Until I married one

A little common sense would come in handy here.

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You're familiar with the "but my best friend is Black" trope right?

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Voting closed 27

I knew if I threw that in there I'd get a response like that. It was meant to be amusing. Lighten up, gang!

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Voting closed 7

Ridiculous is admitting there's no connection between Standish and BU, but refusing to change the name while describing Standish as "capable but flawed."

"Capable" isn't a virtue--the question is what someone does with their abilities. As for "flawed," Standish didn't "just" commit mass murder, he did so while breaking the ancient laws of hospitality.

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Voting closed 37

Standish invited Massachusett War Chiefs Pecksuit and Wittawamut and several of Chickataubut’s most powerful warriors to a “peaceful summit,” ambushed or poisoned them and murdered them. Several of the native villagers at Wessagusset were killed as well. One of the warrior’s head was cut off and displayed on a pole as a warning.

Guess what (checks username), scollysq? Names of places, buildings etc change all the time.

And why would you want to defend and continue to venerate a homicidal maniac? Is there anyone affiliated with Massachusetts or BU that perhaps has made a bigger contribution to humanity since this 1623 massacre?

Perhaps this is an opportunity to engage local native folks and the hall can be named for the Wessagussett - that way we can still keep Miles Standish in out memories. Or perhaps Massachusett/Nipmuc/Wampanoag folks have other naming ideas that should be heard?

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Voting closed 57

It's not like this guy was a brilliant author or artist or scientist with a dark side to his life to make him controversial -- he was just a military guy who did brutal shit to the natives. There's no reason to keep his name on stuff.

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Voting closed 81

There's that State Forest named after him. Shouldn't cause anybody pain to change that one.

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Voting closed 33

Why would BU honor a dead person when they could sell dorm naming rights to a wealthy alum?

Kilichand paid $10 million to get Shelton Hall renamed Kilichand Hall, back in the early 2010s.

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Voting closed 12

I was going to chime in as a former Myles resident that they should rename it after someone with Myles as either their first or last name, since no one references Standish when referring to the dorm.

That said, that they renamed Shelton frosts me. Yeah, sell the name for Myles. Better than the choice these folks have come up with.

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Voting closed 6

This hall wasn't even named by BU - they just bought a building with that name and didn't bother to change it. There's no valid reason to object to object to changing the name - it's not like a donor named it or it was named after someone BU-related.

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Voting closed 42

I was on the fence leaning toward removal but this comment made me jump off toward it.

omg if this was a bought building that has no historic or connection to BU or even the building itself to Standish..

Let people change it. It literally has no relevance..

(inserts frozen-letitgo.gif)

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Voting closed 27

Standish is a more complex figure than many realize. That said, the Pequot War was definitely a genocide and Standish was a very aggressive militarist. But he also had lifelong native friends. Like many historical figures, it’s easy to judge him by today’s standards.

I understand there will be snotty reactions to this.

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Voting closed 33

…are Indians!”

If you lead a genocide, and you do some nice, benevolent things, the headline is still the genocide.

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a civilization in anarchy, England, to one racked by the plague and rent by tribal war. It’s easy to criticize from a nice climatrolled cubicle, I’m sure your politics would have been totally right on and lefty 400 years ago — oh wait.

If you were left wing 400 years ago, you would have been a Puritan separatist.

Hope you had fun posting.

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Voting closed 22

...she'd be a bicycle.

I mean, "thou shalt not kill" was a thing in Pilgrim times, too. And Standish had ~10,000 neighbors that weren't big fans of he and his compatriots' capture, kidnap, and kill modus operandi. His playbook was a cornerstone of the Pequot Massacre which launched the institutionalization of chattel slavery on Massachusetts soil for ~150 years.

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Voting closed 27

along with the Pokanoket and others formed an alliance of against the Pequot, who were the most aggressive tribe in the area. Plymouth kept open trading relationships with their alliances afterwards for generations.

I can greedily reduce things too, it’s easy to do. If you want to get mad at anyone in history from that angle, blame the Spaniards. The Plymouth Colony lived in a pretty peaceful coexistence with its neighbors for the most part.

The Pequot were a mortal threat to them; it’s not as if they stepped off the Mayflower armed to the teeth and ready to kill.

I don’t want to sound rude, but it’s generally my experience that people with your prefab set of opinions don’t learn well from discussion, so we can cut this short… since I can probably write your posts for you. Have a weekend.

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You say that Standish formed lifelong friendships with Indians, but those friendships were in service of allying against and killing other Indians. In one case, Standish helped his Indian friends raid an Asawomosett Pokanoket settlement to help one Pokanoket kill a rival Pokanoket.

And the Pilgrims *were* armed to the teeth. Examine the inventory of swords held in their fortress. Swords serve one purpose: combat. You don’t hunt with swords. You don’t have a bunch of swords lying around for beaver trapping.

There’s no fair and balanced version of Standis’s history here. It’s not 50/50. His primary legacy is the aggression and brutality perpetrated on his Indian neighbors. The political menuvers are worth discussing, but they don’t exhonerate him and it certainly does not justify veneration.

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I've heard many complaints about the reign of James I, but that the Stuart rule was too weak is not one of them.

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In other words, you don't understand that someone could disagree with you for good reasons.

The standard for "this person is worth honoring" should be higher than "yes, he committed genocide, but we shouldn't use today's standards when deciding, today, who we want to honor."

This is one building, rather than the namesake of an entire university. Changing those names isn't impossible -- for a recent example, there's the City University of Toronto, which took some time to choose a new name instead of its genocidal former namesake.

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Voting closed 27

I don’t think Standish is the person you are portraying him as. Historical bias is a thing.

I also think it’s fine if they want to change the name. It’s their property.

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Voting closed 15

Is a thing; I don't know what it would be if it wasn't. Calling attention to that doesn't make much of a point. "Historical bias is a thing" seems like an evasion. There are a lot of kinds of historical bias. One common kind is a bias in favor of old stories, old monuments, the old historical fairy tales we learned as children. This kind of bias makes people object to the correction of lies, even when they are known to be lies.

Of course if we were 17th-century English adventurers we would judge him differently. So would we if we were the victims of those adventurers. There are plenty of people who we are accustomed to thinking of as very wicked who regarded themselves as good, and were regarded as such by like-minded people. It's good to understand that, but unless you are going to abandon all attempts at moral differentiation of the acts of others, you have to choose. I choose differently than my ancestors did; I choose to see Miles Standish as a man who acted very badly, whose other actions do not excuse him, and who, overall, is not to be admired.

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Voting closed 22

Yes.

Standish as a good white man who came over and helped the natives is historical bias.

Your problem here is just the opposite of what you are pretending it is. People are bringing up the unbiased and complicated historical record, not the biased sanitized one that you are clinging to here.

With that much projection you should consider a career in stage or opera.

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