Christopher Columbus Disappears From View in L.A. on Indigenous Peoples Day

An enclosure surrounded downtown L.A.’s Columbus statue on October 8

Christopher Columbus has worn out his welcome in L.A. In advance of the city’s inaugural Indigenous Peoples Day, a statue of Columbus located just outside Grand Park in downtown L.A. was hidden from view.

L.A. Times audience engagement editor Steve Saldivar posted photos on Twitter of the statue before and after an enclosure was constructed around it “on the eve of Indigenous Peoples Day.” According to a statement posted on the enclosure, the County Board of Supervisors passed a motion last October “to remove all references to Columbus Day as an official County holiday and recognize Indigenous Peoples Day instead;” the ordinance was formally passed in May. Next to the hidden statue, a Taíno altar was displayed.

In addition to the temporary barrier that was erected around the statue, the Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission “will lead the coordination, working closely with the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, to develop a temporary art instillation for Native American Indian Heritage Month in November 2018,” according to the posted notice. They’re also “reviewing all options for the removal of the statue from Grand Park.”

People who replied to Saldivar’s original tweet believed that the temporary removal of the Columbus statue was meant to just “protect it” rather than actually honoring Indigenous Peoples Day. “If they really wanted to do something meaningful to honor the day, they could have torn it down,” one user said.

Meanwhile, a user from Long Beach said that perhaps they should just leave the statue up: “But put a statue of a Native America beside it. People that know their history will see both sides and make their own opinions.”

Just this year, more and more cities have decided to ditch Columbus Day and instead celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day every second Monday of October. Last August, L.A. made history when City Council voted to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day as an official Los Angeles holiday. Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who is a member of the Wyandotte Nation tribe, spearheaded the switch. He’s also part of the effort to remove the Columbus statue altogether.

Angelenos have been celebrating the inaugural Indigenous Peoples Day from sunrise to sundown, with a 5K run, parade of nations, Native American powwow, panel sessions, and The Black Eyed Peas and Native American rock group Redbone will close out the celebrations (hurry, you might still be able to catch a performance by the The BEP’s and Redbone.)

Here are some images and videos from the celebrations around L.A. on Indigenous Peoples Day:


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