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  • Coalition of Natives and Allies

What does a statue say?



Greetings! "It is time for spring cleaning in America. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests stemming from the police killing of George Floyd, parts of our culture that had long managed to avoid deeper introspection are being dragged into the disinfectant of daylight." ~ Jeva Lange, THE WEEK It is time to look at one of the most glaringly racist and inaccurate myths in our culture, Columbus "discovered" America. If anyone were to read Columbus' own diary or the diary of one of his former men Bartolome De Las Casas , you would understand these statues of Columbus would feel like a glorification of genocide. Monuments are there to celebrate and exalt what the individual "accomplished."

But Native American mascots are not monuments. They're much worse. While monuments are generally erected to honor the legacy of a dead person and are not specifically intended to inspire action on the part of the viewer (that is to say, no one is looking at statues of Christopher Columbus and then prancing off to go fake-discover a continent and terrorize its inhabitants ), sports teams do require our participation. We're meant to feel allegiance with them, and to partake in their celebrations, rallies, and traditions. And because Native American mascots were initially born out of dehumanizing stereotypes, intended to channel the ferocity and brutality that a neighboring team might emulate with a mascot that is a tiger or a bear, this means the ensuing engagement with Native American culture is at best shallow, ignorant, and offensive.” ~Jeva Lange, THE WEEK

It is time for our country to let go of the Columbus Myth. Native peoples have worked hard for years to bring understanding to the hurt caused by the U.S. celebration of the terrorist Killumbus; how sad that it took witnessing the killing of George Floyd for eyes, ears and hearts to finally be opened. Across Turtle Island, Columbus statues are rightfully being removed, boxed up, moved and defaced. Or, as Nick Martin put it for The New Republic this past January: "Native mascots are a monument to racism, just as the Confederate statues that dot public grounds across the country are monuments to racism." FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WEEK


We acknowledge that we live and work on Lenape Tribal territory known as Lenapehoking

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