Sam Knef, WWMT-TV, October 23, 2019
Assistant Battle Creek City Manager Ted Dearing said city officials have been discussing the removal of the particular window for years, but a local Native American tribe expressing it’s disapproval jump started the process.
“We didn’t approve of the seal that depicts one of our ancestors being clubbed by a white settler,” Jamie Stuck, chairperson for the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, said.
For years, people have walked past the the windows in the center stairwell in between the second and third floor of Battle Creek City Hall. Had they looked up, they would’ve seen a medallion of the city’s original seal which depicts the battle that gave Battle Creek its name, and what some consider a highly offensive depiction of Native Americans.
About a year and half ago, the tribe wrote the city a letter asking the city to take the medallion down.
The tribe provided half of the $6,755 needed to replace the window through its Native American Heritage Fund, which was established by an agreement between the tribe and the state of Michigan. Up to $500,000 per year from the tribe’s state revenue sharing payments go in the fund.
The city left the design of a new medallion up to Full Spectrum Stained Glass, a company in Colon. The process took about a year, Dearing said, because of the challenge of matching the existing glass, and the artist’s availability
“It was done in a respectful way,” Stuck said. “They did the right thing.”
The old window is in storage at the Battle Creek Regional History Museum.
“That’s probably part of our history that is important to preserve,” Dearing said. “We’ll work with the local tribe, and it’ll be displayed in a way that is sensitive of their concerns, and how we depict our history.”