St. Louis University moves controversial statue after protests

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tags: colonialism, Indian



St. Louis University has moved a controversial sculpture from outside a residence hall to inside a museum in response to criticism from faculty and students who say the work reinforces the idea of white supremacy.

The sculpture, by an unknown artist, is named “Where the Rivers Meet.” It depicts Jesuit missionary Pierre-Jean De Smet on an elevated platform above two Native Americans, in what could be construed as an attempt to convert them to Christianity.

That was indeed part of De Smet’s mission. However, many historical accounts depict him as sympathetic to Native Americans and as working to dispel their reputation as savages.

SLU student Jonathan Pulphus said opposition to the statue has been building. At a March town hall meeting, then-senior Amelia Romo told SLU President Fred Pestello that the sculpture celebrates white supremacy and colonialism and should be taken down.




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