The city of San Francisco has removed a statue of a Spanish cowboy, after accusations that it was racist and demeaning.
The statue has been in place in front of San Francisco City Hall for 124 years, but Native Americans have fought for its removal for years, claiming it insulted their race and culture.
The statue, named “Early Days,” depicted a Spanish cowboy (known as a vaquero), representing the Spanish conquerors who settled the land. A Catholic missionary is also featured, but the real point of contention for some was the American Indian included in the sculpture, who is shown cowering at their feet.
The statue now goes into storage, while some museums have offered to take it and display it.
Its removal from city hall plaza is now very noticable.
San Francisco Removes Statue Of Native Man At Feet Of Colonizers https://t.co/5gaiUMYgwr
— NPR (@NPR) September 14, 2018
A group of Native Americans chanted, beat drums and burned sage as the workers used a crane to take down the statue depicting a Native American at the feet of a Spanish cowboy and a Catholic missionary. It was part of a group of statues depicting the founding of California.
Native American activists tried to have the statue removed for decades. They renewed efforts last year after clashes broke out across the U.S. over Confederate monuments.
The San Francisco Board of Appeals voted unanimously Wednesday for the removal of the statue, which had been in its location for 124 years.
Video from last night shows the statue’s removal.
Crews remove controversial "Early Days" statue near San Francisco's City Hall. https://t.co/M1I3is4XWG
Some say the 19th-century statue is racist and demeaning to indigenous people.
[Video: SF Arts Commission] pic.twitter.com/pvOzWaMQAS
— Kristofer Noceda (@krisnoceda) September 14, 2018
Native American activists celebrated the removal.
“I think we’re witnessing a moment in history where, commendably, San Francisco officials are doing the right thing to help rectify the mistreatment of indigenous people,” Janeen Antoine, who is of Lakota heritage, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We’re very happy this is finally happening after decades of work and struggle from the native community.”
The statue will be stay in storage until officials decide what to do with it, said San Francisco’s Arts Commission spokeswoman Kate Patterson.
Several entities including a California museum have expressed interest in housing it, Patterson said.
Conservative actor James Woods had a proposal upon hearing of the remova of the cowboy statue.
Take down every statue in America. Get it over with already. But EVERY one. See how that works out. https://t.co/aevIWWqOEw
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) September 14, 2018
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