On Nov. 10, a year since city officials in Los Angeles voted to take down a Christopher Columbus statue from a park, workers finally removed it. Spectators took pictures and watched as city workers took down the statue from downtown’s Grand Park. Fittingly, the removal also took place during National Native American Heritage Month.
“It’s #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth and today’s fun fact is that yesterday the statue of Columbus in Grand Park in L.A. was torn down because he didn’t discover anything,” playwright Tara Moses tweeted. “Having relics of genocide, rape, and colonization contribute to Native erasure, and L.A. took a stand!”
City officials echoed that sentiment. Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said earlier in the week, according to NBC, that “This is a natural next step in the progression to eliminate the false narrative that Christopher Columbus discovered America,” and added “Columbus himself was personally responsible for committing atrocities and his actions set in motion the greatest genocide in recorded history. His image should not be celebrated anywhere.”
The removal was first proposed by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis who also said Columbus Day should be replaced with Indigenous Peoples Day.
“We have all inherited this complex, difficult history,” Solis said, according to NBC. “Minimizing — or worse, ignoring — the pain of Los Angeles’ original inhabitants is a disservice to the truth. The removal of the Columbus statue in Grand Park is an act of restorative justice that honors and embraces the resilient spirit of our County’s original inhabitants. With its removal, we begin a new chapter of our history where we learn from past mistakes so we are no longer doomed to repeat them.”
When the actual removal occurred, people cheered and applauded. A Native American tribal ceremony also took place.
“I’ll never forgot what I witnessed today,” Jarina De Marco tweeted. “The Christopher Columbus statue was removed and through this action we honor our native ancestors who endured unspeakable violence at the hands of these ruthless colonizers.”