Ethan Cai, Campus Reform, August 6, 2019
Aimed at UVA President James Ryan, the petition entitled “Remove Monument to Genocide that Welcomes People to UVA,” as reported by Newsweek, calls for UVA to scrap a statue of George Rogers Clark, a leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and brother of William Clark. The petition has received 450 total signatures, just 50 signatures shy of its final goal, at publication time.
Inscribed text underneath the statue reads “George Rogers Clark: Conqueror of the Northwest.”
“Remove the statue of George Rogers Clark engaged in genocide to a museum where it can be presented as a shameful memory,” the petition demands. “The statue of George Rogers Clark at UVA depicts a white man on a horse dressed for war…. He has other men behind him with a gun and a barrel of gun powder, and he appears to be reaching back for a gun with his right hand. There are four Native Americans in front of him, including one infant.”
The petition claims that one of the Native Americans in the statue “appears defiant.”
The George Rogers Clark statue plays a role in “this broader white supremacist project that U.Va. was a very active participant in regionally and nationally,” according to von Daacke.
Richard Handler, an anthropology professor at UVA, told the Cavalier Daily that the statue could be moved to an exhibit to teach people about genocidal behavior against Native Americans.
“People need to realize that statues were not handed down from God but are human creations of specific times, places and peoples,” Handler said. “As our thinking changes, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with removing, destroying, or even rededicating a statue.”