Complaints Prompt Catholic University to Remove Statue of Priest Praying over Indians

Nathan Rubbelke, College Fix, May 27, 2015

Saint Louis University has removed a statue on its campus depicting a famous Jesuit missionary priest praying over American Indians after a cohort of students and faculty continued to complain the sculpture symbolized white supremacy, racism and colonialism.

Formerly placed outside the university’s Fusz Hall in the center of the private Catholic university, the statue will go to the university’s art museum, a building just north of the bustling urban campus.

The statue features famous Jesuit Missionary Pierre-Jean De Smet S.J. praying over two American Indians dressed in traditional clothing. Last Monday, just two days after graduation, it was removed from the location it has called home on campus for decades.

A university spokesperson told St. Louis Magazine the statue will be placed within the “historical context of a collection that’s on permanent display in our SLU Museum of Art.” The statue is set for the museum’s “Collection of the Western Jesuit Missions.”

“In more recent years, there have been some faculty and staff who have raised questions about whether the sculpture is culturally sensitive,” SLU spokesman Clayton Berry said.


In a recent op-ed published in SLU’s University News, senior Ryan McKinley stated the sculpture sent a clear, unwelcoming message to American Indians at Saint Louis University.

“This message to American Indians is simple: You do not belong here if you do not submit to our culture and our religion,” McKinley wrote. McKinley called for the statue’s removal, while suggesting the university replace it with artwork made by American Indians.

“The statue of De Smet depicts a history of colonialism, imperialism, racism and of Christian and white supremacy,” he penned.

But the history surrounding the statue is more nuanced than the statue’s opponents portray it.

According to a SLU webpage, De Smet had an excellent rapport with American Indians. He was known to them “simply and affectionately as ‘Blackrobe.’” While converting thousands to Catholicism, De Smet also helped negotiate treaties among the Indians and the United States, ensuring their land and safety.

De Smet also shares a connection to Saint Louis University, serving as its treasurer shortly after the university’s founding.



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  • In its place will go a statue memorializing Michael Brown, GENTILIVUS GIANTIVUS, St. Swisher of the Fergaza Strip. I’m not kidding.

    There is a Jesuit HS in St. Louis also named for DeSmet. I wonder for how much longer.

    • Oil Can Harry

      DeSmet converted pagans to Christianity.

      If that’s now “racist” then why have any Christian missionaries?

      • Usually Much Calmer

        Resource transfer!

      • David Ashton

        That’s the idea.

    • propagandaoftruth

      GENTILIVUS GIANTIVUS converting the Slappahoes with stolen blountage?

    • Sick of it

      The really weird thing about all of this is that that part of Missouri has a number of rather conservative minded people. Or at least the folks I met around there were. Liberals only get away with what they do (and survive) because we will not challenge the men with guns who protect them.

      • But it’s the City of St. Louis. And not the white parts where cops and firefighters and good intact white Catholic families live. 80% vote for Obama in 2012.

        • Rob

          Then they should not call themselves Catholic.

  • Johann Wald

    Senior Ryan McKinley is a liberal idiot and the University should have just ignored his ravings. By folding like this on this issue, they just promote more of the same sort of behavior down the road elsewhere by giving the claims the veneer of authenticity

    • Rob

      McKinley the name sounds like he is Irish Catholic. I have some Irish American members in my family and some of their liberals views make me cringe. Then they claim to be very holy Catholics and true Social Justice Warriors.

  • corvinus

    Fr. DeSmet is an evil white male racist colonialist patriarch because he wanted to help Indians go to heaven. /smh

  • Tim

    Reminds me of two guys who quit hanging out together at the bar. I asked the one I liked more what happened. He said, “Steve gets so drunk with himself he forgets he owes me one…”

  • Lady Texas

    Any person who caves to the idiotic requests of social justice warriors is truly worthless as a person and as a citizen. When I see videos on the web of “police brutality” against whiny young libtards and black agitators protesting, all I can do is smile!

  • Jason Lewis

    The Marxists are on a roll.

  • Bossman

    The natives of the Americas were all superstitious savages. Christianity was an improvement from what they believed in like ritual cannibalism and human sacrifice.

    • JGTThrasher

      Not true. There were many tribes who were, but there were 500 distinct tribes, comprised of different ethnic origins. The Cherokee were known as one of the civilized tribes and went out of their way to develop a system of writing for their language when they saw us use writing, and they developed a constitution, and so on. Many have European DNA which predates Columbus. While it is true that they were magico-religious, we can say the same about Christianity, where in liturgy patterns of behavior, chants and symbolism combine to create a right relationship (ritual), preserve health or the natural order (influence), or to heal and fix perceived gaps or shortcomings (transformation), which are all foundational to magico-religious beliefs. This culminates with the eucharist, or taking into the self the spirit by ritual act. In basic magical thought this is the same as theurgy.
      I myself lived with a tribe up north while a Christian doing missionary work, and while yes, we are different, it is absurd to be so reductionist. Many of the tribes had a belief in a creator god or Great Spirit, and because of the low population, space and good climate were very friendly. We do see more aggression in the Northern tribes and some groups of South America, where torture and brutality were commonplace, but to put this on all of the individual tribes is dishonest.

      • The “civilized” Cherokee only developed their written language after over a century of White contact.

        • JGTThrasher

          And, like I said, they made the effort and achieved it. Now, tell me how this discounts my counter point that not all tribes were cannibals and morally deficient, and that they were different from each other genetically.

    • Hilis Hatki

      The Germans are civilized and they had the Eastern Front.
      The peoples of Apalachecola would cut their enemies into pieces and hang them in the trees yet they still had a civilization.
      As for the Cherokees, they should have been made to walk that trail twice.

      • Bossman

        The Germans under Hitler considered the entire Eastern world to be inferior to them, starting with the Poles.

        • Hilis Hatki

          To some degree yes, yet they still formed friendships with them.

          Some of the Infantry battalions fighting for Germany :
          Georgian, North Caucasus, Azerbaijani, Ukrainian, Armenian, Turkistani and generally named “Ost” units. Plus at least one Korean soldier.

        • The Worlds Scapegoat

          Americans consider everyone else in the world to be inferior to them.

          Since when do the superior work their a** off for the inferior?

    • propagandaoftruth

      Well, there were some and there were others. Cortes would not have gotten some 5000 non-Aztecs following him to destroy the Aztecs if…

      1. The Aztecs had been anything but a vile, evil, psychopathic civilization and…

      2. Some natives weren’t so bad. The belief in Quetzalcoatl – a bearded White redeemer that would destroy the wicked Aztecs – and the coincidence of Cortes arriving when Quetzalcoatl’s return was predicted…that’s kind of creepy, isn’t it? I see why some Mormons draw certain conclusions.

      I always remember the story of the Aztecs and the Toltec princess. The Aztecs were just settled on their swampy island and hiring themselves out as muscle to the more settled powers, so the Toltecs recognized the new reality and sent a princess to marry and secure alliance. A few months later her father or brother came to visit the in-laws and a priest wearing her flayed skin greeted them.

      Many of the ruling houses of the natives that survived the disease holocaust that followed prospered by marrying into Spanish families and became a part of the Spanish Christian elite. They became White because they had those propensities before they were White.

      • The Worlds Scapegoat

        “… The belief in Quetzalcoatl – a bearded
        White redeemer that would destroy the wicked Aztecs – and the
        coincidence of Cortes arriving when Quetzalcoatl’s return was
        predicted…that’s kind of creepy, isn’t it? I see why some Mormons
        draw certain conclusions.”

        That legend did not exist before the Spanish showed up. It was created many after the Aztecs were destroyed.

        Consider it to be another Nostradamus legend: A prophecy that was created after the event happened.


      • Alden

        I thought 80,000 Mayans marched with Cortez to conquer the Aztecs I may be wrong about the numbers

  • MekongDelta69

    Just because he’s ‘higher up’ than the Indians.

    I guarantee Mr. “colonialism, imperialism, racism and of Christian and white supremacy” doesn’t have a clue that Christians sometimes kneel when praying.

    Another brainwashed, indoctrinated, moronic, guilt-ridden, self-loathing White fool.

    • Usually Much Calmer

      In combat sports supplication is a variation on the feint.

  • HJ11

    More erasing of Whites.

  • dd121

    When the Europeans came to the New World it was a given that European civilization was superior to the civilization of native savages. Somehow the leftists have convinced most people that no language is superior to another; that no civilization is superior to another. That’s so hard to swallow I just can’t grasp how educated people can believe it.

    • Rob

      But the leftists think their values are superior to other values. So in a way they are not practicing what they preach.

  • Rob

    Sadly the Jesuits all over the world are infected with liberalism and they value social justice more than saving souls.

  • Eric Ruttencutter

    I think that’s Chief Illiniwek in the feather headdress

  • Douglas Quaid

    The Christian white male is the arch villain in the minds of the progtards.

  • InitialSegment

    A Catholic university commemorating the spread of Catholicism? Outrageous.

  • George Costanza

    The university doesn’t even bother to engage in a debate to refute the charlatan Ryan McKinley, they more you give the more THEY TAKE.

  • George Costanza

    “De Smet had an excellent rapport with American Indians. He was known to them “simply and affectionately as ‘Blackrobe.’” While converting thousands to Catholicism, De Smet also helped negotiate treaties among the Indians and the United States, ensuring their land and safety.”

    If De Smet was non white the statue would have remained.

    • LHathaway

      There would be more of them springing up in other towns . . .

    • Good point. What if he was black? I guarantee we would be reading about him in all of our history books and Hollywood would probably be making motion pictures about him.

  • JGTThrasher

    I remember when I lived with members of the Wampanoag tribe they had the movie “Black Robe” about a missionary who had a good rapport with a tribe. The movie was interesting, and while not about De Smet, it portrayed a complex relationship and struggles with faith. I know that one tribe which converted through Catholic efforts was shortly thereafter genocided by another tribe, when they refused to fight back, as the Catholics had taught them to “turn the other cheek.”
    This seems to me to be another act of pandering by the church. Here you have someone who is respected as a spiritual teacher among Indians and as such had many conversions and much influence. Leaving aside my own views of “spiritual colonialism” he did not use force or brutality and probably acted with good faith to get treaties drawn up, whether they were honored or not. Then the question comes as to whether or not children of families he influenced were removed and forbidden to speak their own languages, abused, etc. in the schools set up for such deprogramming. I think there are two sides to history, always. Maybe this is why they capitulated? Even with that, I think the college should have held firm and not cast out its history. If anything, this could have been used to teach about the man, the nature of man, and grace.

  • newscomments70

    A few years ago, some white liberal business owner opened up a shop in my town. It was a novetly candy/soda shop. It is actually a franchise; they are interesting stores. I used to like browsing at the various novelties, until I met the owner. He would blather on about how evil we whites are and how we are the original “illegal aliens”. He even had some posters related to such propaganda. I thought, “wow, have some cherry soda with your white genocide”. I stopped going. Many others did, as well. He was out of business in less than a year.

  • In a recent op-ed published in SLU’s University News, senior Ryan McKinley stated the sculpture sent a clear, unwelcoming message to American Indians at Saint Louis UniversityFuture mugging victim.

  • When a nation gets colonised by those who do not share a history, there is no reason for them to revere nor associate with figures of the host’s past.

    It means nothing to them. It enrages some them, as a reminder how the country was, before they came. That they are outsiders. They want to see all remembrance of that gone, replaced, preferably with people and names that matter to them ‘their’ recent historical identities.

    It is hard enough getting the wider populace of many of our own generations to take an interest and some pride in our past, so, in the current SJW climate, why would these white youngsters defend the statue and why would non-whites care about it?

    To a lesser degree we have similar things going on here…. petitions to remove statues of people who had ties to colonialism/slavery. Pubs being petitioned to change their name (such as “Saracens Head” or “Blackamore Arms”) – and in parts of major cities we have seen plans for new structures being erected like the ‘hijab arches’ proposed for Brick Lane, to “celebrate the history of immigration and diversity”. (I don’t know if they did put them up or not, it was a few years back and I don’t ever go anywhere near London).

    I am sure, bit by bit, this kind of thing is taking place everywhere where Europeans have called their home.

  • The Cultural Marxists are not interested in showing different cultures interacting together peacefully. It is all about making sure any sign of White pride is blotted away forever. Example? You can show an interracial couple, but the man will have to be the black one; the woman, White. If you do show the man as White, he must be subservient and sissified.

  • Thank you. Good information. This man was brave, and he actually loved the Indians. But the problem is, he also loved Christianity and wasn’t ashamed of being White. So the Cultural Marxists find him unacceptable.

    • Reynardine

      DeSmet paved the way for Cultural Marxists.

      cf. Nietzsche, Spengler, et al.

  • THANK YOU! It was The Catholic Church who pressured the Spaniards to enact the New Laws of the Indies, to protect Indian rights. This was back in the 1600’s. As a result, there are many people of Indian blood in Latin America, but few in Anglo America. Of course, this is hardly mentioned by our liberal Protestant and Jewish historians in this country.

  • It should be noted that SLU is surrounded on two sides by the undertow, south of its med school is where St. Sandwich of Ham was sent to his just reward. Year in and year out, SLU is rated as one of the worst college campi for students being violent crime victims. And that’s not an easy honor to win, because I understand that Yale and Temple are really bad, too.

    • Blackfish

      USC is also in a rotten neighborhood as is the University of Chicago.