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Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 12:01 am

Letters to the Editor 1/30/14

Native American descendants from Illinois participated in the “Gomo, Chief of the Potawatomi” historical marker dedication in Chillicothe last October. The marker was sponsored by the French Heritage Corridor and the Illinois State Historical Society.



In James Krohe Jr.’s column last week (“A new Dawn at the Statehouse?” Jan. 23),
he pointed his pen to public art, specifically the statues at the Illinois Statehouse and their commemoration of dubious public servants. His comments were, as usual, whimsical and all-too accurate. Although unintended, the statues of Pierre Menard and Everett Dirksen on the Capitol lawn do a fine job exposing our “public heroes” for the patronizing colonial (Menard) and political appeaser (Dirksen) each was. Regarding Gomo, the “forgotten” Potawatomi Chief who proved a far better citizen than his Illinois neighbors in the War of 1812, his legacy is commemorated in an Illinois State Historical Marker, dedicated last October in Chillicothe on the Illinois River, where he and his tribal community once camped. More than 75 people, including Native Americans from around the state, attended the dedication. Michael Wiant, director of the Illinois State Museum’s Dickson Mounds, drafted the text for the 100-word marker, which reads:

Gomo or Masemo (resting fish) (b.ca. 1750-d. 1815). A Potawatomi leader, respected by members of many tribes, the residents of French Peoria, governor of the Illinois Territory Ninian Edwards, and William Clark, then U.S. Agent for Indian Affairs. Gomo advocated neutrality in the conflict between tribes and the United States, sought peace for the Potawatomi of the Illinois Valley, and demanded equal justice for Indians and Americans. He could not stem the tide of American settlement. His nearby village was destroyed in the winter of 1813, but he returned here to live out his days, passing in 1815.

William Furry, executive director
Illinois State Historical Society


It’s always fun to be reminded of James Krohe Jr.’s personal esthetic standards in architecture, city planning and, now, statues on the Statehouse lawn (“A new Dawn at the Statehouse?” Jan. 23). But perhaps a bit of context would be in order about Sen. Stephen A. Douglas.

When Douglas told his children on his deathbed in June 1861 to “support the Constitution of the United States,” Confederate armies threatened U.S. military installations from Washington, D.C., to Cairo and St. Louis, and President Lincoln had recently called out 75,000 troops to “cause the laws to be duly executed” and “re-possess the forts, places, and property which have been seized from the Union.”

So while Krohe is certainly correct in his assertion that the U.S. Constitution “perpetuated slavery” at the onset of the Civil War, it may be that what Douglas had most immediately in mind at the time was the same Union his fellow Illinoisans would support in the months and years ahead at Belmont, Fort Donelson, Island No. 10, Shiloh, Corinth, Stones River, Vicksburg, Chickamauga, Atlanta and Sherman’s March to the Sea.

Pete Ellertsen


As Griffin Woods have cycled to winter’s austere beauty, why must we wonder how many cycles remain?

Building a new Schnucks in place of the woods is a very questionable business model. Schnucks’ successful Sangamon Ave. store serves what would otherwise be a ‘food desert.’ How much business will the Fairhills Schnucks draw from the Chatham Road Schnucks? How much will the two Fairhills food stores lose to another chain’s new store on MacArthur?

Food consumption in Springfield will not rise just because there are more stores. We will be better served if new stores are located where none already exist. In my youth, our dog and I spent countless hours in the woods. Maybe future generations will be as lucky as I was.

Bob Zoch

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