PUEBLO — A protest at the Christopher Columbus statue in Pueblo was held to honor the indigenous children that were found in a mass grave at an Indian boarding school back in May. The statue in Pueblo has been standing since 1906.
“It belongs to the City of Pueblo, and the City Council is responsible for either taking it down or not taking it down,” said Deborah Martinez-Martinez, board member with El Movimiento Sigue.
In recent years groups have gathered in Pueblo at organized ‘Take it Down’ protests. Deborah Martinez-Martinez is one of the board members with El Movimiento Sigue, a group that has been front and center during those protests.
“We want to keep on the City Council’s mind because they’re basically ultimately responsible for this statue being here.,” Martinez-Martinez said.
When the bodies of 215 children were found in May of this year it sparked even more frustration with the statue being in Pueblo. Martinez-Martinez believes another person can represent the community in a better way, one person that comes to her mind is Mother Cabrini.
“She had 60 or more orphanages, hospitals, schools across the country, starting here in Colorado,” Martinez-Martinez said.
On Sunday, Martinez-Martinez and other community members placed 215 children shoes at the base of the Columbus statue. Amber Dawn McCabe came out for one reason.
“To pay respects to them, well the shoes are a representation of the original 215 which was found on the residential schools, and I wanted to pay respects,” McCabe said.
The ultimate goal of this protest is to be heard by city leaders in hopes of getting the statue taken down.
“We are the city, the only city, in the state of Colorado that still recognizes Christopher Columbus as a big hero,” said Martinez-Martinez.
There we a few people at the protest in opposition of taking the statue down. They said they feel the statue represents a symbol of the United States, the evolution of Christianity, and the evolution of mankind.