Controversy growing over Denver statue with connection to Christopher Columbus

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DENVER (KDVR) — Americans have watched as Confederate statues have been toppled across the country in recent weeks. Others representing Christopher Columbus have also been removed and in some cases beheaded.

Some statues have been knocked over by rioters and protesters, others by municipalities.

In Colorado, no statues have been destroyed.

However, Denver City Councilman Chris Hinds is among the many who want to see the name of Christopher Columbus removed from the base of a statue in Civic Center Park.

Columbus’ name is currently on a plaque below the statue, currently concealed by a Black Lives Matter art exhibit.

However, there are misconceptions about the statue.

Many don’t realize it’s actually not a statue depicting Columbus.

“I learned the issue for indigenous communities is not the statue. It’s just the plaque,” said Hinds.

The statue, according to the Fort Collins son of the man who created it, is not of Columbus. Instead it features an unidentified man.

However, its connection to Columbus means its future could be in jeopardy given the current political climate.

“The statue’s named ‘Christopher Columbus,'” said Hinds.

Clementine Akaia McCrowey is a Denver resident who has watched the ongoing situation regarding the statues.

As a Black woman, she says she’s conflicted by what she’s seeing.

“I agree some of the statues need to come down, but in actuality, some of them don’t,” she said.

McCrowey believes the statues are a piece of the nation’s history and they should remain. However, she believes most need context added to them, along with other statues telling the complete story of what happened.

“These people committed genocide. Until we get that right, racism will continue to exist,” she said.

She says the Columbus statue in Civic Center Park is no different. She says the statue and plaque need more explanation, highlighting not only the accomplishments of Columbus, but also the pain and suffering inflicted on many indigenous people.

“If you’re going to leave it up, then tell the truth about Christopher Columbus,” McCrowey said.

The statue has been removed from Denver’s Public Arts website as the city considers its future. But for now, the statue and the plaque remain standing in Civic Center Park.

However, the plaque has been removed by vandals at least twice over the past 30 years.

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