Students and faculty at the University of Oregon are calling for the removal of the statue of an American pioneer. According to the university, the statue represents “the framing of history from only one culture’s perspective,” and it is considering removing the statue, along with other art students and staff find offensive.
According to a report by NPR, students and faculty at the University of Oregon are up in arms over a statue of a pioneer on campus. Now, the university has created a task force dedicated to removing offensive pieces of artwork from campus.
One Native American protester, Bret Gilbert, says that the statue is a symbol of the oppression of the Native Americans.
“The pioneer as a symbol is really the championing of the mysticism around Native American history and the myths that people believe that this land was uninhabited and uncivilized and those things we know aren’t true now,” Gilbert explained.
The University of Oregon released a long statement condemning the statue. In the statement, the university argued that the statue fails to convey more than a singular perspective on American history. Specifically, according to the statement, the statue ignores the plight of Native Americans who had their lands taken from them.
The Pioneer statue was unveiled 100 years ago to represent Oregon’s first European settlers. A century later, a more inclusive view of history recognizes that The Pioneer symbolizes just one part of the story. The UO fully appreciates that to many Oregonians, including those of Native American ancestry, it stands for something very different, the framing of history from only one culture’s perspective. We take those views very seriously. Last winter, the UO established a presidential working group – led by Dean of Libraries Adriene Lim and Professor Dean Livelybrooks – to audit and review campus monuments, plaques and public art installations and recommend whether any changes need to be made to those features to recognize the diverse histories of our community. The Pioneer statue is part of that review, and the working group hopes to deliver a report, including recommendations, next fall. We are happy to share any research and information from outside organizations with that working group.
The university is scheduled to release a statement this fall, detailing which pieces of artwork will be removed from campus.
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