When the Andover Town Seal Review Committee shared results this summer from a survey showing residents split on changing the town seal, Town Manager Andre Flanagan proposed having a public forum to outline the seal’s history, the group’s wok and to begin what may be a “difficult discussion.”
That forum is happening Wednesday at Memorial Hall Library at 7 p.m. and will feature presentations from Elaine Clements from the Andover Center for History and Culture and Paul Pouliot, president, council chief and speaker of the Cowasuck Band – Pennacook/Abenaki People.
Pouliot is a historian who has consulted with the committee. At its July meeting, Chair Karen Van Welden-Herman said she spoke with Pouliot, who said the depiction of an indigenous person was factually wrong, and looked like a “real estate agent pointing out all the tracts of land he just gave away.” Pouliot, Welden-Herman said, suggested the town avoid depicting people if it chooses to change the seal.
The committee was formed last October with the goal of making recommendations to the select board and Town Meeting on changing or keeping the seal. Any change would need to be approved by Town Meeting.
Massachusetts has required towns to have a seal since 1899 and the Andover town seal has been changed four times since the first one was adopted in 1855. The town adopted its current seal, which is based on artwork from Andover’s 250th anniversary in 1896, in 1951, according to a history of the seal on the town’s Website.