The city of Arcata, California is going to remove the statue of a former President, after local Indian tribes protested and said he is responsible for the genocide of their people.
For decades, a statue of William McKinley stood in the town plaza. Local Native American groups, however, claim the 25th President caused them to be “savaged, raped, and killed” as America settled the West.
The opposition, which seems to be led by a number of white people, convinced the city council to vote on the statue, and by a four-to-one vote, McKinley was tossed.
A small California city has voted to remove the statue of US President William McKinley from a town plaza because it is offensive to the indigenous community.
The city council is set to topple the eight and a half foot statue of the 25th president who is accused of leading the slaughter of Native American communities across the nation.
The movement for the statue’s removal is led by the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous People who call McKinley a leader of ‘settler colonialism.’
Chris Peters heads the indigenous group and believes the removal of the statue would honor the native groups the former president had ‘savaged, raped and killed’.
‘Put a rope around its neck and pull it down,’ Peters said at a rally held at the base of the bronze statue, according to the LA Times.
While there is no evidence that McKinley directly ordered atrocities to be carried out against Native American tribes, he likely should have been aware of what was happening.
The main Indian tribe protesting the statue lives on a reservation 20 miles from town.
The protests themselves seem to have been inspired by the Confederate statue controversy, but organizers claim they have been going on for years.
The town mobilized after area tribes and social activists created a petition campaign and brought it to Arcata City Hall. The winter saw the McKinley statue plaza overrun with regular protests.
One local resident protested for 26 days straight with a sign that said ‘This Christmas, give the gift of not supporting racism and murder. Remove the statue’.
In February the city council voted four to one to remove the statue of McKinley’s likeness.
‘The Native people here have avoided that square for years,’ Ted Hernandez, chairman of the Wiyot Tribe who live on a reservation 20miles south of Arcata said to the LA Times.
‘Why do we have this man standing in this square where they used to sell our children?’ he added.
His tribe – along with a dozen others – rallied together to protest the McKinley statue.
Protestor Bernadette Smith drove four hours for the protest and says ‘what happened is going to inspire Natives across America’.