FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) — Councilman Jason Arp is standing his ground, saying “no way” will he reverse course on the creation of General Mad Anthony Wayne Day.
The response comes after a letter was sent to the media by leaders of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma condemning the new day.
The tribe is calling on the City Council to rescind the resolution, saying the presentation to establish the day included inaccurate historical data.
In a statement, tribal leaders say the information presented by Councilman Jason Arp in support of adopting “General ‘Mad’ Anthony Wayne Day” had gross inaccuracies.
The leaders say the resolution wrongly states in one battle, tribes were led by British officers, when instead they were led by their own captains.
“To assert that the U.S. Army under Wayne was somehow less brutal,” the letter states, “represents an attempt to cleanse his history and silence contrary evidence to favor the conqueror.
The city of Fort Wayne sits on the tribe’s ancestral lands. Many tribe families were displaced as a direct result of General Wayne’s actions.
The letter says the resolution “makes no attempt to recognize that tribal nations were negatively impacted by the actions of the United States Army under Wayne’s leadership.”
These impacts included the “systemic burning of Native American towns and fields.” Adding that the resolution “implicitly commemorates those actions while at the same time obscuring them.”
We asked Councilman Arp about that. He responded that because he is American he doesn’t consider those actions to be “negative.”
“For us, we’re very happy to live in Fort Wayne, and that the United States of America exists,” Councilman Arp said. “I would not call those negative impacts. Maybe other people may see those as negatives. As being a patriotic American, I think having the United States be a place is a good thing.”
The Fort Wayne History Center also weighed in on the letter, saying they were not consulted in the creation of the “Mad Anthony Wayne Day” resolution.
The tribal leaders suggest if the City Council believes the city’s history is underappreciated, they face history through research and productive public engagement rather than a superficial commemoration of Fort Wayne’s supposed founder.