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Posted under: Trending News

NYC Decides Not To Remove Controversial Christopher Columbus Statue

Markers honoring indigenous people will be added to the display.

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New York City's monuments commission has decided not to destroy any monuments in the city, including a controversial Christopher Columbus statue according to New York Daily News.

The Columbus statue, which is located in Manhattan's Columbus Circle, has caused a lot of debate, particularly after the events at Charlottesville. While Columbus is viewed by some Americans as a founding hero, he is viewed by others as a symbol of rape, colonialism, imperialism, slavery and genocide.

Prior to the commission's announcement, opponents of the statue led by activist Glenn Cantave pushed for the statue to be taken down and replaced with one of Haitian revolutionary Toussaint L’Ouverture as a nod to the city's significant Haitian population. 

"Columbus threatened and raped and murdered," Cantave said last year. "It is ass backwards that a city like New York, with such a high awareness of terrorism, has a terrorist as a landmark.”

Although Cantave and other opposed to the Columbus statue were defeated, the city said that it plans to put up new historical markers in and around Columbus Circle to “continue the public discourse."

A new monument honoring indigenous people will also be commissioned. Furthermore, the city has promised to erect plaques that explain Columbus' history in-depth. 

“Thousands of New Yorkers got involved in this process, and there's been an important conversation going on across the city,” said New York mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement. “Reckoning with our collective histories is a complicated undertaking with no easy solution. Our approach will focus on adding detail and nuance to — instead of removing entirely — the representations of these histories.”

The mayor added, “And we'll be taking a hard look at who has been left out and seeing where we can add new work to ensure our public spaces reflect the diversity and values of our great city.”

“As far as we're concerned, this is a victory,” said National Council of Columbia Associations president Joe Guagliardo.

Betty Lyons, head of the American Indian law Alliance and an Onondaga citizen, said that promises to put up historical plaques are "not enough."

“We are disappointed but not surprised," Lyons said. "This is our reality, the same old act of erasure, the same old narrative, the same history being perpetrated by leaving the statue of Columbus up. My kids are still going to look up at these statues every day they pass them."

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Tonja Renée Stidhum is a writer/director made of sugar and spice and everything rice. She has the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.