Kzoo residents split on controversial fountain

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

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Public opinion was split Monday at a Kalamazoo City Commission meeting about the city should get rid of a controversial fountain.

The Fountain of the Pioneers in Bronson Park depicts a European settler with a sword or club in his hand towering over a Native American. Some say it’s racist, but others argue it’s a work of art and forces people to reflect on and learn about history.

At the commission meeting, city staff had a presentation about the history of the fountain and its overall inclusion in the Bronson Park master plan. Dozens of citizens then made their feelings known.

“Don’t remove it. Don’t alter it. Just rename it. The Pioneers and the Fountain of Tears tells a true story,” one person argued.

“I want to say that the Fountain does create an environment of racial hostility,” an opponent said. “My daughter also echoed the sentiments that it was ugly and when I asked her how it makes Native Americans feel, she said, ‘It feels like they don’t like us.'”

Public comment lasted until after 11 p.m. The matter wasn’t an action item if the agenda, so the commission did not decide one way or the other.