Oct 6, 2017 - The American Indian Community House Calls for the Removal of a Columbus Statue in New York
A broad coalition of Native groups, community members and non-Native supporters are calling for the immediate removal of a Columbus monument and all Columbus statues located in New York. Below is a letter the American Indian Community House sent calling for their removal. editor’s notes
Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments and Markers
New York, NY 10007
Dear Members of the Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments and Markers,
We, at the American Indian Community House (AICH), the Interim Executive Director, Chair of the Board, Staff, Community Members, and non-Native allies are standing in solidarity for the removal of the Christopher Columbus Monument at Columbus Circle and all Columbus statues in New York City. AICH has been on the forefront of serving Native Americans in New York City for the past 50 years. This letter is to address the controversy surrounding Columbus monuments in the five boroughs of New York City.
We invite you as appointed members of the Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments and Markers to stand in support of recognizing the vibrancy, continued existence, and diversity of Indigenous peoples residing in New York City. Based on the 2010 Census, New York City has the largest and most distinct Indigenous populations of any city in the United States. One way to show your support for us is to not ignore a dark chapter in history. Instead, acknowledge the need to reconcile with black and brown peoples affected by genocide and enslavement. This is essential in order to abide by principles that advance positive change.
We must collectivity acknowledge the atrocities of Columbus and admit he has no place in US society. One action is to recommend the removal of all Columbus monuments. In addition, develop guidelines to prevent any glorification of any individual that stands for oppressiveness and are inconsistent with the New York value of inclusivity. Our stance is to begin a healing process for communities experiencing historical and intergenerational trauma from colonialism.
We urge you to support the removal of Columbus monuments based in New York City.
Ben Geboe, LMSW, Yankton Sioux Tribe
Interim Executive Director/Director of the Health Department
Richard Chavolla, Kumeyaay Nation
Chair of the Board of Directors