Denver won’t reinstall statues of Columbus, Kit Carson
Statues of historic figures have sparked controversy in states like New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado. Now Denver officials say they will not reinstall statues dedicated to Christopher Columbus and Kit Carson.
The Columbus statue was knocked down by protestors in 2020 in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis. The city removed the statue of frontiersman Carson after that happened.
City officials were silent for years on plans for the monuments. This fall, they sparked outrage, asking Native elders if it was O.K. to put the Columbus statue back up.
The Denver American Indian Commission pushed back and city officials wrote this week to say the statues would not go back up.
Commission Co-Chair Raven Payment has mixed emotions about the decision.
“It's bittersweet,” Payment said. “I'm happy in the end, and I hope that the city and county of Denver works to not only do right by the harm that they caused our elders, but also considers how they'll be doing these focus sessions with our communities going forward.”
In an email to commission members, the city said it hoped the “permanent removal” would help heal pain caused by the statues.