Activists Target Statue of William McKinley in California

William McKinley (Seth Morabito / Flickr / CC / Cropped)
Seth Morabito / Flickr / CC / Cropped

Native American activists are demanding the removal of a statue of President William McKinley in Arcata, California, because of his support for the expansion of U.S. power abroad, which allegedly hurt native peoples.

McKinley also signed the Curtis Act of 1898, which removed some tribes’ control over their lands.

As the Los Angeles Times notes, the battle has consumed the small Northern California town with unusual zeal usually reserved for symbols of the Confederacy — though McKinley is not generally seen as controversial.

The Times notes:

The target is an 8½-foot bronze likeness of William McKinley, who was president at the turn of the last century and stands accused of directing the slaughter of Native peoples in the U.S. and abroad.

Peters, who heads the Arcata-based Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous People, called McKinley a proponent of “settler colonialism” that “savaged, raped and killed.”

McKinley became a symbol of Arcata’s sins against Natives and, by extension, other races too, forcing the city to confront some of its embarrassing history. In 1886, for example, Arcata passed a law calling for the “total expulsion of the Chinese.”

McKinley also became a target for anger at President Trump…

Supporters of the statue have started a Facebook group that aims to put the question to a public referendum, rather than letting city officials decide.

McKinley supported tariffs to protect American manufacturing — a stance that has led to a revival of interest in his presidency, as the Trump administration pursues similar policies. He was also briefly mentioned during the Obama administration, when the mountain that once bore his name — North America’s tallest — was renamed and given its Athapascan title, Denali (“the great one”).

McKinley was assassinated by an anarchist in 1901 and succeeded by Theodore Roosevelt. His tragic death led to memorials being erected to him nationwide.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.