President Andrew Jackson may be getting a new home in Salem City Hall. Last week, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll filed a proposal to move a portrait of the country's seventh president out of the city council chambers. The city would then replace that painting with a new, soon to be commissioned, portrait of a leader from the Naumkeag, a Native American community that lived in the area that is now Salem. Driscoll spoke with WGBH Radio’s Arun Rath about the proposal. This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Arun Rath: Could you tell us how the Naumkeag tribe fits into Salem's history?

Kim Driscoll: There is not much known about this tribe. Prior to 1629, Salem was known as Naumkeag. And we know that these Native Americans who were here did so much to carve out space for hunting and fishing and helped really build the activities of commerce that began in our city as it was settled.

Rath: So we can understand wanting to feature more of the history there. President Jackson is, to say the least, a controversial president. Could you talk about why you would want to switch out his portrait?

Driscoll: Certainly there's a tortured history with respect to President Jackson. I mean, being responsible for the Trail of Tears and the actions he took against Native Americans in this country. There are 10 or 11 portraits in the city council chamber. All we're looking to do is relocate this one. So it will still hang in City Hall. It just won't be in as prominent a location. And it certainly seemed fitting that we would replace that particular portrait with somebody with Native American roots here, a member of our indigenous tribe.

Rath: And the Trail of Tears, to remind people — that was when President Jackson defied the U.S. Supreme Court and forced the relocation of basically the entire Cherokee Nation.

Driscoll: Yeah, it was much more of an action that impacted the southern quadrant of the United States. But nonetheless, it was really something I think we look back on and are not proud of. So from my perspective, relocating his portrait is as much about trying to profile and highlight the role of indigenous people in Salem and recognize that there's some parts of our history that maybe should be more in the back room, as opposed to in the City Council chamber. We're hoping we can use it as an opportunity to highlight who was here and what happened as part of this effort.

Rath: Now, I have to say, I'm not familiar with which other portraits might be in the city council chambers. Is there a possibility any others might be removed?

Driscoll: Well, at this point, we're focused on this particular issue. It's not something that as a city we often change up portraits there. We have a public art commission, we're working with them, and members of our historic preservation staff to look at this issue. But there are 10 other portraits there. They're all, as you would expect, given the historic council chamber, primarily white men who played roles in the city's history. And so I don't foresee us going whole hog and taking every portrait out. But it is something, in this case, that we were looking at and proud to be able to showcase another part of our history.

Rath: And with the proposal you've now filed with the city council, what happens from here?

Driscoll: We're hopeful to be working with our Public Art Commission on identifying a Native American artist or somebody with a Native American background who could help us actually come up with the portrait, since not much is known about what these prior tribal leaders actually looked like. We're going to have to really rely on our historical roots to understand what might be the most fitting portrait to hang in its place. In the meantime, we're hoping to put a frame in this location that allows us to recognize what will be coming next. So we're hopeful that the city council will act quickly to allow us to move forward.