Nine-foot-tall statue of Leonard Peltier to be removed
Published January 3, 2017
WASHINGTON — Feeling the heat from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Agents Association, American University officials will move a nine-foot-tall statue of Leonard Peltier (Turtle Mountain Chippewa), made mostly from wood, from outside it art center museum on its campus in the nation’s capital.
The statue was placed outside of the American University’s Museum at the Katzen Arts Center. Calls began to come in at the American University after local conservative news media outlets called out the university for displaying the Peltier statue, who they called a “cop killer.”
Peltier was wrongfully convicted for the killing of two FBI agents at Oglala on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1975. He has been incarcerated for the past 40 years and currently held at the U.S. Penitentiary in Coleman, Florida.
When the push-back originally began, American University officials resolved to keep the statue by releasing the following statement: “American University regards this statue as an exhibited piece of art and takes no position on the advocacy movement.”
Last Thursday, December 29, 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Agents Association, a group that consists of former FBI agents, sent a letter to the university’s president calling for it removal.
By Monday, the university caved in and decided to move the statue. Here is the statement released by American University:
“The subject matter and placement of the piece improperly suggested that American University has assumed an advocacy position of clemency for Mr. Peltier, when no such institutional position has been taken. Further, the nature and location of the piece called into question our ability to honor our responsibilities to ensure the security of the art and the safety of our community.”