Almost 5,000 concerned Minnesotans signed a petition asking the governor to reinstall the statue of Christopher Columbus that was torn down by protesters last June.
The statue was on display at the Capitol building for almost 100 years before being destroyed by members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) last summer.
The Center of the American Experiment recently delivered a petition to state leaders signed by thousands of Minnesotans who are demanding the statue be reinstalled on Capitol grounds.
“There should be a process for deciding the monuments, statues and artwork displayed at the Capitol and until that process is in place, the Columbus statue should be immediately returned to its pedestal,” the petition reads.
4,755 signatures were delivered to Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, and the Minnesota Capitol Area Architectural and Planning Board. Ingebrigtsen previously introduced legislation to restore the Columbus statue.
“Rioters do not dictate the policies of our state, nor do their opinions and beliefs represent the views of every Minnesotan,” Ingebrigtsen said.
John Hinderaker, president of the Center of the American Experiment, said that Gov. Tim Walz’s failure to reinstall a statue toppled by rioters “sends the message that destruction of property is allowed as long as it fits a particular narrative.”
Petitioners are determined to show that “lawless mobs” shouldn’t be allowed to dictate which monuments are acceptable.
“Every day that goes by without returning the statue affirms the idea that lawless mobs can decide which monuments can stay and which can be torn down. This is not how a lawful society operates,” the petition states.
Activists with AIM caused an estimated $154,000 in damage to the statue, which was made from bronze and granite.
Email evidence suggests that Gov. Walz and his administration quickly made the decision not to reinstall the statue.
“Obviously we’re not putting it back up, but we should have a democratic process about what takes its place,” a Walz press aide said shortly after the statue was torn down.
Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan made it known immediately that she was not disappointed with the situation: “The arrival of Christopher Columbus to what is now the Americas set in motion centuries of violence and genocide against the Indigenous people who already lived here,” she said.
According to Preserve Our History, the site hosting the petition, Flanagan also said she was “not going to perform” or “feign sadness.”
“I will not shed a tear over the loss of a statue,” she added.