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UW-Stout Moves Controversial 80-Year-Old Murals

Chancellor Calls Move Of Paintings Depicting French Fur Traders, Native Americans 'A Business Decision'

Courtesy of UW-Stout

The University of Wisconsin-Stout is removing two 80-year-old paintings that depict Native Americans and French fur traders from the halls of one of its buildings.

Commissioned by the Works Progress Administration in 1936, the paintings — made by Wisconsin-born artist Cal Peters — depict a French fort and fur traders with Native Americans canoeing the Red Cedar River. At 6 feet tall and up to 18 feet wide, the murals command attention in the corridors of Harvey Hall.

Courtesy of UW-Stout

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UW-Stout Chancellor Bob Meyer said that’s been an issue for some students.

“There’s a segment of Native American students, that when they look at the art, to them it symbolizes an era of their history where land and possessions were taken away from them, and they feel bad when they look at them,” Meyer said.

The paintings will be moved from the common areas into the Harvey Hall library and a dean’s conference room. Some have accused the university of censoring history and have said the decision is political correctness run amuck.

Chancellor Meyer disagreed, calling it a good business decision not based on political correctness.

“So, we want to make sure that, really, what we decorate our hallways with and what we put in our hallways is consistent with our values to try to attract more Native Americans to the university,” Meyer said.

Courtesy of UW-Stout

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