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Controversial Memorials Are Surprisingly Easy to Pull Down

Fixing the world that built them is harder

On Wednesday afternoon, Mike Forcia drove to a Twin Cities-area Home Depot to buy two ropes — one black, one yellow, both nylon — to be delivered to the Minnesota State Capitol grounds in St. Paul and tied around Christopher Columbus’s neck. The statue of the Italian explorer was placed there in 1931 to commemorate, according to its plaque, “the merging of the cultures of the old and new worlds,” a colorful euphemism for the conquest of indigenous people. Then, at Forcia’s command, 20 Native American activists in a crowd of about 200 took the ropes and began to pull.

“For just a split second, as it was tightening around his neck, I thought, ‘Those ropes are going to snap,’ ” says Forcia, 56. “But then a second later, they pulled again. It tightened up and over he came.”

He said he could hardly believe how quickly it happened. For years, Forcia, who is Anishinaabe, had been lobbying the government to have the statue removed. He had gone through all the official channels. All he got in return was frustration, and delays.

Please select this link to read the complete article from The Washington Post.

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