We Feel 'Silenced' When Statues Removed Without Us

We Feel ‘Silenced’ When Statues Removed Without Us

Native American leaders in the San Francisco area are upset that city leaders decided to remove a statue of Christopher Columbus that was targeted by Black Lives Matter riots, because indigenous leaders were not consulted or present.

As Breitbart News reported earlier this month, the City of San Francisco preemptively removed a prominent Columbus statue that rioters had targeted for destruction. They intended it to drag it to the San Francisco Bay and throw it in there.

However, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, while Native American leaders were pleased to see the statues of Columbus and other early colonial figures, such as St. Junipero Serra, removed, they are upset it was done without them:

One step in particular that San Francisco officials failed to take, [spokesperson for the Confederated Villages of Lisjan/OhloneCorinna] Gould said, was including indigenous voices in the conversation about the Columbus statue’s removal.

April McGill, executive director for the American Indian Cultural Center in San Francisco, said she is disappointed that despite the center’s partnership with the city’s Arts Commission and past work with Mayor London Breed, it wasn’t contacted about the Columbus statue decision. And although its removal felt like closure for a lot of American Indian people, they shouldn’t have had to witness it from afar, she said.

“To be silenced again, and not be included — that’s the problem,” said McGill, who is of Yuki, Little Lake and Mishewal Wappo tribal descent. “You’re on Native land — and when you remove something like that, there should have been someone there. We missed an opportunity here that was really important.”

The decision felt like another form of an erasure, she said, something indigenous people have had to contend with for hundreds of years in the Bay Area and beyond.

In addition to Serra, rioters also tore down two other statues in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park — namely, Union general (and later President) Ulysses S. Grant, and Star-Spangled Banner composer Francis Scott Key.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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