COOPERSTOWN, NY (WUTR-TV) — Is it time to change the wording on some of the historical markers in Cooperstown? On June 22, 2020, the Village Board of Trustees voted to reach out to the State Department of Education to update verbiage on the Council Rock historical marker that refers to Native Americans as ‘Indians.’ Now, some trustees think they are acting too soon on this and hope the motion can be reversed.
Council Rock is a historic park that was created in the 1950’s. During last week’s Board of Trustee’s meeting, trustee Richard Sternberg made a motion wanting to change wording on the historical marker — to get rid of the work ‘Indians.’ “I was trying to be sensitive to a lot of the language differences that are going on in the country and trying to get ahead on the issue,” says Sternberg. The motion was passed but Sternberg says he is reconsidering some of his wording.
“Once the motion is passed, I don’t own it anymore. So, what I am trying to do is one, have that reversed and two, have a discussion to approach the concept of historical signs…and see what we can do to upgrade the history whether it is to change the plaques. Somebody gave me a really good idea of having phone numbers attached to them which you dial up like you would do in a museum to get somebody explaining what is actually going on because you can’t get it right in 30 words,” says Sternberg.