NIWRC Statement on Removal of Colonizer Statues



(LAME DEER, Mont., June 29, 2020)—As an Indigenous-led advocacy organization dedicated to ending violence against Native women, the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) actively supports the growing groundswell to remove statues and monuments that glorify settler colonialism, genocide and conquest. Such statues and monuments symbolize centuries of injustice and oppression, including historical figures who used colonizing and genocidal tactics such as war, violence and systemic racism to subjugate Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color (BIPOC). The very existence of these public monuments perpetuates not only the idea that violence against BIPOC is acceptable but that such violence should be celebrated and revered. As Indigenous people, violence and oppression are not our traditions or values, and NIWRC stands in solidarity with the peaceful removal of any and all monuments and symbols that perpetuate racial violence, inequality, hate, genocide, misogyny and oppression.

In particular, statues that glorify Christopher Columbus and his so-called ‘discovery of America’ are historically inaccurate, and recent actions to dismantle these symbols are long overdue in reframing the truth about this nation’s history. As Indigenous people know, the United States sits on the original homelands of Indigenous peoples who have lived on, protected and respected this land since time immemorial. It is well-documented that Christopher Columbus led efforts to attack and brutalize Indigenous women, men, children, elders and Two-Spirit people, many of whom were killed or systematically trafficked, raped and brutalized. These devastating truths can no longer be denied or ignored.

We applaud the government officials and cities who have taken steps to remove the numerous symbols and monuments that represent structural racism and violence toward BIPOC. The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center now calls on all local and government leaders to not only renounce these symbols of oppression but to further remove any remaining statues representing hate, fear, injustice and division that we have been forced to endure for centuries.