Some in Kzoo want Fountain of the Pioneers gone

Issue mentioned after Kalamazoo replaces Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day

Kalamazoo, Fountain of the Pioneers
The Fountain of the Pioneers in Kalamazoo. (Oct. 16, 2017)

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Kalamazoo on Monday officially removed the observance of Columbus Day from its calendar, and the move opened the door to comment on a longstanding focus of controversy in the city.

The Kalamazoo City Commission voted unanimously at its Monday evening meeting to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.

During public comment, people brought up another issue regarding the treatment of Native Americans. They spoke against the Fountain of the Pioneers statue in Kalamazoo’s Bronson Park, which depicts a European settler with a sword or club in his hand towering over a Native American.

Sometime overnight Tuesday, the statue was covered with a sheet. It’s unknown who placed it over the statue. It was later removed Tuesday morning.

A sheet hangs over the Fountain of the Pioneers statue in Kalamazoo’s Bronson Park Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017.

Controversy surrounding the statue is nothing new. Those opposed to it say it should be removed.

“Our country’s historical and current institutional and cultural manifestations of white supremacy cannot be ignored,” one member of the public told commissioners at the meeting. “This is our moment in time to face white supremacy and to learn the truth of its history in our culture.”

The commission didn’t take any action on the removal of the statue, only listening to public comment about it.