Activists call for an end to historical praise of Christopher Columbus
MISHAWAKA, Ind. - Murderer, thief and slave-trader were all things activists protesting at the Christopher Columbus statue in Mishawaka called the 15th century explorer. The activists held a protest Friday at the statue in an effort to "educate the public" according to one organizer.
"We're here today to talk about the Columbus statue and how wildly inappropriate it is that it's still standing, especially in a land that is heavily occupied by an indigenous community," said protest organizer Madolyn Wesaw. Demonstrators celebrated their Native American heritage with music and dance.
Protest leaders said tearing down the statue would not accomplish much, but what needed to happen was a perspective change.
"If you see men like (Columbus), and you think that is the goal, you think that is someone to look up to, I implore you to look into your heart and to ask yourself 'do we really want to honor a rapist and a murderer and a thief and a slave trader or is enough enough?'" Wesaw said during the rally.
One person, a self-proclaimed historian, said he came to watch the demonstration and agreed that tearing down the statue would not accomplish what the protestors were preaching.
"We have to look inwards to where we're at, what these represent, how we got here, not that we would want to tear them down to get rid of them, but to understand how they got there, what they represented," said David Wolfram who lives in the Mishawaka area and came to the protest to watch. "If it is offensive, look inwards to our lives to try to correct that to each other."
Mishawaka Mayor David Wood did not respond to our request for comment.