- Associated Press - Thursday, September 13, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A San Francisco board decided Wednesday to remove a 19th century statue that activists say is racist and demeaning to indigenous people.

The decision by the San Francisco Board of Appeals involves the “Early Days” statue, which depicts a Native American at the feet of a Spanish cowboy and Catholic missionary. It is part of a cluster near City Hall regarding the founding of California.

Tom DeCaigny, the Arts Commission’s director of cultural affairs, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the commission would begin working to take the statue down immediately.

Native American activists have tried to have the statue removed for decades. They renewed efforts last year after clashes broke out over Confederate monuments.

In April, the board unanimously voted to overturn a decision by the city’s Arts Commission to remove the sculpture. At the time, appeals board member Rick Swig called the statue “horrible” but said removing it from public view would squash free speech.

The quasi-judicial, five-member body agreed in June to reconsider its decision.

Earlier this year, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to end the Columbus Day holiday and celebrate indigenous people and Italian Americans on the second Monday in October.

Board members said Native people suffered greatly after explorer Christopher Columbus arrived.


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