In the aftermath of the Charlottesville riots, monuments that test political correctness, like the confederate flag, have been called into question across the nation. As Columbus Day approaches, this sensitivity has extended to this long-debated holiday.
Los Angeles has already replaced Columbus Day with “Indigineous Peoples Day,” inspiring others to follow suit. Citizens of Minnesota are formally seeking for the removal of a statue of Columbus through a petition titled “Replace Columbus Statue with a Prince Statue and One Chosen by the Native Community.”
With over 4,000 signatures, the native community asks state legislature to replace the statue of Columbus with a statue that honors not only the native population, but also “The Purple One”—the artist formerly known as Prince.
The petition notes that,
“Across the nation, city governments are choosing to remove statues of white supremacists, slave owners and those who threatened the livelihood of black people. Here in Minnesota, communities are reigniting the demand to bring down state’s monument to Christopher Columbus, a man who murdered, raped and enslaved black and Native peoples in the Americas. We, the undersigned, do not believe that Columbus represents the values Minnesotans carry. Rather than glorify a man who wanted to extinguish black and Native peoples, we should honor members of our community whose leadership we find inspirational.”
Petition organizer Wintana Melekin defends this untraditional nomination by noting that the state’s capitol feels inherently unwelcoming to the indigenous people and believes that the statue of Prince would honor “a part of Minnesota we are all proud of.”
Melekin has already had success in this arena, as May 23 is now Beyonce Day in the state. Similar petitions have began across the nation, notably one in Virginia commemorating artist Missy Elliot.
Melekin notes that, ““The replacement of Columbus is about the deep history of white supremacy and colonialism in the United States and the need for Minnesota to lead the country in this moment,” Melekin said. “We all know Prince is a genius, and who wouldn’t pick him over Columbus anyway?”