By Mike LaCrosse

HAVERHILL (CBS) – Changes are coming soon to a nearly 150-year-old controversial hatchet-wielding statue in downtown Haverhill.

This week the City Council voted unanimously to allow the Hannah Duston statue to remain in GAR Park, but it’s recommending the word savages be erased and for her hatchet to be removed.

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“The hatchet in the hand is not making any point. I get that, I totally understand that, which is why I would support its removal if that’s what it takes,” said Haverhill City Councilor Tom Sullivan.

Hannah Duston statue in Haverhill (WBZ-TV)

Hannah Duston was kidnapped by Native Americans during a raid in the 1600s. She was able to escape after killing several of her captors.

“We can’t just erase history, it’s better to try to explain history and not repeat history and she does serve a purpose in that regard,” said Sullivan.

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The council also voted to allow space in the park for a Native Americans monument to be created. The mayor set up a commission to help with planning and designs.

Hannah Duston statue in Haverhill (WBZ-TV)

“Now we want to honor those who got here before the settlers did, made this land, inhabited it for thousands of years I want to honor them in some way,” said Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini.

Ron Peacetree is part of the team appointed by the mayor to discuss a new monument. He’s of Native American descent and hopes the commission’s recommendations will help move the city forward.

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“The Native American belief is that you do not inherit the earth from your parents or your grandparents that you instead hold it in trust for the generations that come after you,” said Ron Peacetree.

Mike LaCrosse