“I’ll meet you by the statue of the Indian,” we all say.
When I came to BYU I decided to study the plaque underneath the Indian statue. Impressed by his story, I resolved to dedicate it to memory, along with his name. Since then, I made a habit of asking dates and friends if they happened to know the name of the Indian statue on campus.
Surely someone else must know about Chief Massasoit — the keeper of peace and the savior of the Pilgrims. Well, I graduate this month, and in all my years of asking, only one person has been able to answer that question. While I understand that his minimalistic apparel, moccasins and chiseled abs draw more attention to him being a Native American than, say, Karl G. Maeser’s suit draws attention to him being a German, I hope not one of us will get a good night’s rest until we’ve committed Massasoit’s name to memory.
Without a name, Massasoit has no story. Without a story, he is just a handsome, half-clad Indian. With a name, however, his statue, originally sculpted by Cyrus Dallin — who incidentally also sculpted the Angel Moroni statue for the Salt Lake Temple— serves its purpose of immortalizing a great man.
So the next time someone asks you to meet them by the statue of the Indian, do Massasoit a favor and kindly enlighten them.