“San Francisco will take down a controversial statue depicting a submissive Native American man after an outcry sparked by a deadly rally last summer in Charlottesville, Va., led the city’s arts commission to vote unanimously this week to remove it. The statue, known as ‘Early Days,’ shows a Native American man at the feet of a Catholic missionary, who towers over him and gestures toward the ground…” M. Gold, The New York Times
“Critics have called the statue racist and disrespectful, saying it promotes genocide, portrays Native Americans as inferior and relies on inaccurate stereotypes. (Among the specific critiques: that the person depicted in the statue is styled like a Plains Indian rather than a member of any California tribe.)
“It’s more than just racist,” said Mariposa Villaluna, who helped organize a grass-roots campaign to remove the statue. ‘It celebrates human subjugation.’
The statue has been the focus of heated debate in the past. In the early 1990s, when the city announced a plan to move the Pioneer Monument to its current location, Native American activists urged the city to leave ‘Early Days’ behind.
After years of debate, the city kept the statue but installed a plaque meant to add historical context…But the decades-long effort to move “Early Days” to storage was reinvigorated in August, after a deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville over the potential removal of a statue of the Confederate general Robert E. Lee…The city is planning to remove the statue sometime this year, according to Kate Patterson, a spokeswoman for the arts commission. It will be moved to storage and replaced with a plaque that details the reasoning behind the decision.”