I want to address the subject of Fort Wayne history illiteracy. A visionary segment of Fort Wayne’s black community has a plan on how the Fort Wayne City Council can educate its citizenry, ethnic groups, and future leaders while simultaneously creating an original international identity based on fact, not Madison Avenue.
Very few people know who Anthony Wayne was, why he was sent here or what he did to warrant a statue in his honor. Even more people are oblivious as to who Chief Little Turtle was or why George Washington honored him as being “the greatest Indian ever.”
Defeated generals Josiah Harmar and Arthur St. Clair and victorious Gen. Anthony Wayne were sent in successive campaigns to the land known as Fort Wayne with orders to kill the Indians, burn their crops and destroy the village of Kekionga. But Chief Little Turtle had an answer for Harmar and St. Clair. The Chief Little Turtle-led battles (also called Little Turtle Wars) resulted in the killing of the most Americans in the entire history of the United States vs. Native American warfare.
But Chief Little Turtle soon realized that the Miami coalition of Indians was no match for Anthony Wayne’s army and tried to persuade other Indian leaders to work for peace. Little Turtle was fired, and Shawnee Chief Blue Jacket led the battle against Wayne’s troops and lost. Sixty days later, on Oct. 22, 1794, the land known for over 100 years as Kekionga was now Fort Wayne.
Therefore, I am in favor of placing the statue of Anthony Wayne in front of the Allen County Courthouse. He should be rewarded for his success at killing Indians, capturing Kekionga and burying its warrior history for the past 219 years. Chief Little Turtle killed the most Americans in U.S. history of any native American chief. They were equals and should be marketed as symbols for equality as they stand so bravely next to each other.
Approximately a half-mile north is the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge, which reminds us that “all men are created equal.” I have yet to meet a person from another country who has not heard of Dr. King. They recognize him as an international peace symbol.
Where in America can a half-mile stretch of land containing two statues, one of an Indian chief and the other an army general and a bridge dedicated in the memory of America’s greatest civil rights leader symbolically atone for I ndian genocide, African enslavement and colonial white supremacy? Only in downtown Fort Wayne.
Please call your councilman and ask him to support this idea for placing Gen. Anthony Wayne and Chief Little Turtle in front of the Allen County Courthouse.
Eric Donald Hackley