Indian Country headlines for Monday

Park police and neighboring residents survey the damage in Golden Gate Park on Saturday after statues of Junipero Serra, U.S. Grant and Francis Scott Key were toppled and graffiti was spray painted over many walls and pedestals. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group via AP)

Indian Country Today

Spanish missionary statues come down in California; Alaska monument sparks debate; Eskimo Pies to get a new name; plus other news of note

Indian Country Today

Religious leader criticizes toppling of statue

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ⁠— San Francisco Archbishop Salvadore Cordileone criticized the pulling down of a statue of a Spanish missionary in Golden Gate Park.

The statue was of Father Junipero Serra, who founded nine of California's 21 Spanish missions and forced Native Americans to stay at those missions after they were converted or face brutal punishment.

“What is happening to our society? A renewed national movement to heal memories and correct the injustices of racism and police brutality in our country has been hijacked by some into a movement of violence, looting and vandalism,” Cordileone said in a statement Saturday night.

Serra was an 18th century Roman Catholic priest is credited with bringing Roman Catholicism to the Western United States.

Serra's statues have been defaced in California for several years by people who say he destroyed tribes and their culture.

On Saturday, Indigenous demonstrators shouted and drummed as they toppled a Serra statue in downtown Los Angeles' Father Serra Park, The Los Angeles Times reported. No police were present at the time.

Eskimo Pies to get new name

Eskimo Pies ice cream treats will be renamed.

The maker of the products, Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, has announced it will change the name of the 99-year-old brand.

It is the latest company to overhaul the marketing of a product over concerns about racial stereotyping or derogatory terms involving race. Last week, Quaker Oats announced it is retiring the 131-year-old Aunt Jemima brand.

ICYMI: Native nurses support Tulsa protesters

As Trump's rally concludes, crowds are again building in the streets. An Indigenous group drums as protesters begin surrounding a group of police vehicles in the road.
Crowds begin building in the streets as President Donald Trump's campaign rally concludes Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma. An Indigenous group drums as protesters begin surrounding some police vehicles in the road. (Photo by Graham Lee Brewer)

TULSA, Okla. ⁠— Indigenous activists and medical professionals were among the thousands of people who filled the streets of downtown Tulsa ahead of President Donald Trump's weekend campaign rally.

Apollonia Piña, a nurse and citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, said she and some peers had planned for weeks to be out among the Black Lives Matter protesters, providing aid to anyone who may need it.

Late Saturday, she said she felt good about how the day went. "Things honestly didn't get as bad as we expected."

Alaska explorer statue sparks debate

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Some Alaska residents have questioned whether a statue of a British explorer in downtown Anchorage should be removed as monuments to historical figures are being dismantled across the country.

The statue is of Captain James Cook, who came to Alaska in 1778 in what is now known as Prince William Sound and Cook Inlet while searching for the Northwest Passage as an explorer for the British government, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Cook and his crew were the first Europeans to set foot in the region and were credited with discovering land that was already inhabited by Indigenous people.

The statue at downtown's Resolution Park was a gift from oil company British Petroleum to the city as part of the American Bicentennial Celebration in 1976 and is a replica of one in Anchorage's sister city of Whitby, England.

Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz said Wednesday that he would like to modify the monument, agreeing with the Anchorage Sister Cities Commission, which suggested engaging with the community to decide how to modify the monument to also reflect the history of Alaska Natives.

"The Commission recognizes that the statue alone excludes the history of the Indigenous people in what is now Anchorage," the commission said in a letter Monday. "Rather than remove the statue, the Commission feels this situation can be instrumental as an opportunity to support a positive dialogue between us and our Sister City Whitby, as well as continued conversation and education among Anchorage's diverse population."

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