The Andover Town Seal Review Committee is collecting public input on what should be included in a new town seal after voting to recommend replacing the current town seal at its Oct. 13 meeting.

Replacing the existing town seal and adopting a new one requires final approval from Town Meeting. That vote could come as early as the spring town meeting beginning on May 1, 2023. Residents can submit suggestions and comments on a potential new seal using a form on the committee’s Website.

Last month, held its first public forum, which was described as its “first opportunity….to hear in-person input.” The committee invited Paul and Denise Pouliot, the head male and female speakers of the Pennacook Band of Abenaki People, to address the forum and heard a presentation on the history of the seal from Elaine Clements of the Andover Center For History and Culture, who also serves on the committee.

Andover’s seal depicts Cutshamache, a Pennacook leader who appeared in court in Boston on May 16, 1646, to acknowledge he had sold the land that became Andover to John Woodbridge for six pounds, a coat and the right for Pennacook people to continue fishing in the area. The image of Cutshamache was adopted when Andover updated its seal in 1899 was based on the design in a pin (above photo) a local jeweler sold for the town’s 250th anniversary in 1896. That first seal was designed by William Foster, who was 13 at the time and went on to become an artist.

Last fall, Andover joined several other Massachusetts towns that have reconsidered Native American imagery on their town seals when the select board appointed a Town Seal Review Committee to reevaluate the seal Andover has used since 1951, collect public input and, if warranted, propose a new seal for town meeting approval. The committee’s survey earlier this year drew 1,818 responses that showed people were almost evenly split on whether the town needed to update its seal, which it is required to have under state law.

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