Statue of Christopher Columbus toppled from its stand on east side of the Minnesota State Capitol. Native News Online photographs by Darren Thompson

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A wave of repercussions caused by the public's anger of George Floyd's death,  who was murdered by Minneapolis police officers, is leading to the removal of controversial statues from public spaces across the country.

On Wednesday afternoon, a 10-foot tall bronze Christopher Columbus statue was taken down on the east side of the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, Minnesota by members of the American Indian Movement (AIM).

It was the second Columbus statue taken down in as many days. On Tuesday night, a Columbus statue was torn down and thrown in a lake in Richmond, Virginia.

Columbus is no hero to American Indians  and considered part of a false narrative of written American history.

On Wednesday morning, rumors were posted on social media that AIM members were going to take down the Columbus statue at the State Capitol. As people gathered on Wednesday afternoon, Minnesota State Police showed up with rifles. American Indians showed up with drums and rope.

By the end of the business day - around 5 pm - AIM put a rope around the neck of the statue that was erected in 1931 and toppled it.

AIM members have wanted the statue removed for decades.

“This is to honor our ancestors and the women who started to go missing since Columbus landed,” said  organizer Mike Forcia, Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

There were no arrests on Wednesday, but Forcia was informed he would be arrested at a later date.

Late Wednesday, Minnesota Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan, who is a dual citizen of the White Earth Nation, voiced her opinion on the statue's removal on her Twitter account.

"I can't say I'm sad the statue of Christopher Columbus is gone. I'm not," she wrote. "All Minnesotans should feel welcome at the Minnesota State Capitol, and our state is long overdue for a hard look at the symbols, statues, and icons that were created without the input of many our communities."

To some, Wednesday toppling of the Columbus statue is just the beginning to changing the American history narrative.

“That’s just a tiny drop in the bucket,” Suzie Crow (Crow Creek Dakota) stated. “We still have all the history books and the references to go in this battle.”

Levi Rickert contributed to this story from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

 

The Columbus statue was hoisted onto a flatbed truck and hauled away to an undisclosed location.

 

Support Independent Indigenous Journalism

Native News Online is an independent, Indigenous-led newsroom with a crucial mission:  We want to change the narrative about Indian Country. We do this by producing intelligent, fact-based journalism that tells the full story from all corners of Indian Country.  We pride ourselves on covering the tribes you may have never heard of before and by respecting and listening to the communities we serve through our reporting. As newsrooms across the country continue to shrink, coverage of Indian Country is more important than ever, and we are committed to filling this ever-present hole in journalism.

Because we believe everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities, the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers. But we hope it inspires you to make a gift to Native News Online so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount, big or small, gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. 
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online Staff