Chief needs to go

I attended the Indigenous Peoples’ Day of Rage event Oct. 10, which included a march around town and a stopover at the Toh-Atin statue of “The Chief.” This offensive, racist and triggering statue has caused enough harm. It needs to go. The Indigenous organizers have already put a lot of time into this effort already, and I’m grateful that I was able to learn more. 

How many Indigenous people from our community need to ask for its removal before something more is done? It stands as a mockery to Native people and culture while upholding colonialism and oppression against Indigenous people. Yet, there it remains, downtown, for all to see. Durango can do better than this.  

I’m confused as to why the owners of the gallery cannot listen and work toward a peaceful resolution, especially in the face of an offer from an anonymous donor to cover the cost of the removal of the statue. In addition, the proposal includes working with Native artists to develop something that actually represents Native people. That would be empowering, rather than the opposite.

White folks can do more to stand up in alliance with the Native organizers calling for the removal of this toxic statue. Please talk to your friends, write letters, attend City Council meetings and take a photo at the statue. Don’t forget to use #notyourmascotdurango and post it on social media along with your thoughts on the issue. 

– Riley Neugebauer, Durango