Katie Anderson, College Fix, June 14, 2019
In celebration of Oregon’s roots in pioneering, a statue of a pioneer, known simply as “The Pioneer,” was erected a century ago at the University of Oregon. And now, as the 100-year anniversary of the statue arrives, some in the campus community demand it be removed.
The Pioneer was the focus of a recent protest, at which dozens of students and faculty and others called for its removal and circulated a petition demanding as much, NPR Oregon reported.
Some of the protesters held signs stating things such as “whose history does UO honor” and “Who is the pioneer? It was evident that killing ‘Injuns’ was not a very unnatural happening.”
Some see the statue as a celebration of colonialism.
“A monument is a celebration. … So, to me, it feels very similar to the confederate monuments that speckled a large part of the rest of the country,” history doctoral candidate Marc Carpenter, who researched the statue’s history, recently told the Daily Emerald.
“It’s a monument to violence and white supremacy, and I don’t think those are values that we want to have as a community,” he said.
One of the problems with the statue is apparently his weapons.
But the statue itself isn’t the only problem.
The statue, a gift to the university, was dedicated in May of 1919. At the dedication ceremony, the president of the Oregon Historical Society gave a speech which “extolled the virtues of the Anglo-Saxon race,” according to two UO historians.
But UO interim spokesperson Molly Blancett gave a statement in late May to NPR Oregon in response to the protest, noting a committee has been launched to review all campus artwork.
The statement read:
“The Pioneer statue was unveiled 100 years ago to represent Oregon’s first European settlers. A century later, a more inclusive view of history recognizes that The Pioneer symbolizes just one part of the story. The UO fully appreciates that to many Oregonians, including those of Native American ancestry, it stands for something very different, the framing of history from only one culture’s perspective. We take those views very seriously.