Native American Stereotypes
To the editor:
People in Truro who are unhappy with the Massachusetts seal [“State Flag and Seal Question Is on Wellfleet, Truro Warrants,” Sept. 10, page A8] would do well to look a little closer to home and consider the problems with Truro’s official town seal.
The Truro seal depicts a Native American standing on a beach, looking out at the bay, apparently oblivious to the European vessel sailing in the water behind him. His left hand holds a bow and arrow and his right hand rests on a corn plant. He wears a feathered headdress, what appear to be fringed leggings, and a cloth draped over one shoulder and wrapped around his torso. Behind him stand two tepees.
What’s wrong with this image? Like the now-retired murals at the Provincetown Museum [“PMPM Exhibit Revises Story of First Encounters,” June 25], it incorporates and perpetuates stereotypes of Native Americans. Tepees are the traditional homes of Plains Indians, not Paomets, Nausets, or Wampanoags. Similarly, the headdress on the Truro seal is a war bonnet in the style of the Plains Indians, completely different from what a native inhabitant of Truro would have worn. The clothing is somewhat nondescript but also appears to be inaccurate. Even the bow is wrong.
I have always loved the decision to place a Native American at the center of Truro’s seal and would never want to change that important choice. But it’s time to bring some accuracy to the image.
Truro and New York City
Action, Not Just Words
To the editor:
I support Article 14 on Provincetown’s town warrant, which will ban single-use plastic bottles of noncarbonated, unflavored water.
Between a pandemic and the resulting economic challenges, a contentious election, racial injustice, and the West Coast on fire, one might be excused for thinking that we shouldn’t have to talk about plastic bottles right now. But we do have to.
The environmental damage our behavior does to the planet does not stop when other challenges arise. Single-use plastic water bottles compose more than half of all the plastic bottles used. We now know that only 28 percent are recycled, and we have all seen the trash cans on a midsummer day overflowing with plastic in the center of town.
These bottles come from oil pulled from the ground, transported, and transformed into plastic in toxic processes. We consume the water (which we could get for free from a faucet) and throw the bottles in a blue can. Plastic lasts hundreds of years; the planet literally cannot contain our waste any longer.
Thanks to Sustainable Practices in Brewster, the plastic water bottle ban is being considered at every town meeting on Cape Cod this year. Brewster, Wellfleet, and Falmouth have already approved it. We have a rare opportunity to take a huge step toward plastic reduction. We would be setting an example for millions of people each year who visit from around the world. They will see that we are not just saying we care about the planet; we are taking action.
When I presented the plastic straw and plastic #6 bans in 2018, it was thrilling to see the town vote almost unanimously to reduce plastic in our community. In a time when so much is beyond our control, let’s embrace the positive changes we can make.
To the editor:
Reading your “Science at Risk” series about the Cape Cod National Seashore from this spring and summer, I was disappointed at how little I learned.
I would have liked to learn who maintains the trails, how boundaries are determined, what erosion has been and what erosion plans are, what the policing issues include, what workers get paid, bonfire rules and problems, and so much more.
Instead, I read about budget “cuts” even though one article included a table showing that the Seashore’s overall budget grew from $7.37 million to $7.86 million (from fiscal year 2018 to 2020).
Only government bureaucrats and credulous reporters describe increases as “cuts.”
Editor’s note: As Sophie Ruehr reported in her series, since the early 2000s, the Seashore’s budget has remained flat while fixed costs have risen. Education and scientific research programs have been cut.
We Got Cultcha
To the editor:
What other American regional weekly besides the Independent would have an article about the Metropolitan Opera streaming Werther [“Goethe’s Tortured Hero, Set to Massenet’s Music,” Sept. 10, page B4] — even one that admits the author doesn’t like French romanticism!
Wellfleet and New York City