CHARLEMONT, Mass. (WWLP) – The Native American statue known as the ‘Big Indian’ was removed from its location along The Mohawk Trail to stand outside a restaurant in Oklahoma.
22News heard the news on Friday after seeing numerous posts on Facebook about the 20-foot statue being dismantled outside the Native and Himalayan Views souvenir shop, formerly the Big Indian Shop.
A petition first deemed the statue of being racist in September of last year. But the shop retaliated with redesign plans for the head of the statue, which ended up falling through.
“Something that was on the street like the ‘Big Indian’, it seemed pretty denied and it wasn’t intended to offend from a metro perspective. It’s a difficult compromise, there are some hurt feelings and they need to be recognized,” said Bob Pollak, owner of Native and Himalayan Views Souvenir Shop.
On Friday at around 9 p.m. Hi-Way Cafe in Vinita, Oklahoma announced that they have purchased it. “As a proud Delaware and Cherokee tribal member it is an incredible honor to be able to bring him to Oklahoma where he can call the Western Motel and Hi-Way Cafe home,” stated Hi-Way Cafe on Facebook.
The Native American statue will maintain its original craftsmanship by Rodman Shutt of Pennsylvania and is joining the 24-foot Muffler Man, “Big Bill” outside the Oklahoma restaurant in a few weeks.
The statue stood on Route 2 also known as The Mohawk Trail in Charlemont since 1974. Originally a Native American path, it was named The Mohawk Trail in 1914 as a scenic tourist route and follows Route 2 from Charlemont to North Adams.
Pollak told 22News that a more neutral muffler man or moose sculpture could take its place.
The shop is also working to replace any Native American exterior items with authentic ones.
WWLP-22News, an NBC affiliate, began broadcasting in March 1953 providing local news, network, syndicated, and local programming to western Massachusetts. Follow 22News on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram