San Francisco Mulling Removal of Controversial Statue - NBC Bay Area
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San Francisco Mulling Removal of Controversial Statue

Native American activists have advocated for the statue's removal for decades



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    A statue known as "Early Days" that depicts a Native American at the feet of a Catholic missionary and Spanish cowboy stands on Fulton Street as part of the Pioneer Monument on March 12, 2018 in San Francisco, California. The San Francisco arts commission voted unanimously to take down a controversial statue that has been called racist by critics and portrays Native Americans as inferior.

    San Francisco authorities are renewing debate Wednesday over removing a prominent 19th century statue depicting a Native American at the feet of a Spanish cowboy looking away in triumph and a Catholic missionary apparently blessing him with a raised left hand.

    Native American activists for decades have advocated for the removal of the bronze statue, which they say is demeaning and racist.

    The San Francisco Board of Appeals will take up a request Wednesday night to reconsider its decision keeping the statue on public display. That decision reversed the city's Arts Commission order last year to place the "Early Days" statue in storage.

    Mayor Mark Farrell said he was embarrassed by the board's decision, and the city's Board of Supervisors unanimously called for the statue's removal.

    The board received more than a dozen letters and emails advocating the statue's removal and two in support of its public display.

    "If we wipe away the traces of injustice, we will forget that injustice and repeat it," Eric Heisdorf wrote the board in support of the statue.

    The issue gained momentum last year after sometime-violent debates erupted across the country over removing Confederate statues. The Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama civil rights legal clinic, reported that 47 Confederate monuments have been removed across the country since the June 2015

    According to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, 110 Confederate symbols — 47 of them monuments — have been removed across the nation since the Charleston murders.