Across the United States, there are statues that have caused contention among many Americans.  While some people want these sculptures to remain, others want them removed due to the controversy that they have generated, especially among indigenous people.  Even though there are some works of art that cause dissension, other sculptures unify people of all creeds and backgrounds.  The Indian and Puritan statue, located at Washington Park in Newark, New Jersey, is a sculpture symbolic of harmony.

Created to mark Newark’s 250th Anniversary, this unusual sculpture is a tall street lamp with nine globe lights.  At the base of the lamp, a Native American and a Puritan stand on each side.  Dedicated on May 10, 1916, the Indian and Puritan statue represents the true spirit of Thanksgiving.  Even though the Indians and Puritans came from different cultures, they blend together as one in this original statue.

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This is the Puritan on one side of the Indian and Puritan statue. [Image by Lucy Santos]
This is the Puritan on one side of the Indian and Puritan statue. [Image by Lucy Santos]

Gutzon Borglum, who was an award winning American sculptor, created the Indian and Puritan statue.  Through his art, his mission was to unite people rather than to divide them.  When you see the Indian and Puritan sculpture, you know that he remained true to his ideals.

Born in St. Charles, Idaho on March 25, 1867, Gutzon Borglum was the son of Danish immigrants.  Since his father was a woodcarver, he was already exposed to art as a boy.  He began his artistic career, in New York City, painting sculptured saints and apostles for the new Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in 1906.

When his group sculpture was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he gained distinction as an artist.  By winning the Logan Medal of Arts, he continued to acquire even more fame in the artistic world.  When he graduated from Harvard Technical College, his skills as an artist grew even more.

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A view of the Indian and Puritan statue from a distance. [Image by Lucy Santos]
A view of the Indian and Puritan statue from a distance. [Image by Lucy Santos]

When Borglum died on March 6, 1941, he left the world the legacy of his sculptures.  Across America, there are many statues created by Borglum.  His most famous public sculptures is Mt. Rushmore.   In this artistic masterpiece, he carved the heads of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  He worked on this project, with his son Lincoln, for several years.  This artistic undertaking began in 1927 and was finally completed in 1941.  When Borglum was too sick to work, Lincoln took over the project and completed it.  Today Mt. Rushmore is a major tourist attraction.

Despite all the conflicts and wars that are taking place in the world today, a sculpture, like the Indian and the Puritan statue, is inspiring.  Symbolizing peace, this work of art brings out the best in all of us.  In our towns and cities, we should take a close look at statues that unite us.  These masterpieces help us to remain true to the spirit of Thanksgiving every single day.