A statue of Christopher Columbus, which was removed last year from its position on Mexico City’s main thoroughfare, will not be returned to the site, city officials said.
According to the CNN, which quotes the mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, it will be replaced by a statue of an indigenous woman, in recognition of the contributions from native peoples from Mexico.
Sheinbaum, who made the announcement on Sunday, on Indigenous Women’s Day, said Columbus’ legacy has “two visions”: one Eurocentric and one that recognizes that civilizations existed in the Americas before his arrival.
“We owe them [indígenas] that and we exist because of you. It is the history of our country and our homeland”, said the official.
The statue of Columbus has been on Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City’s main avenue, since the late 19th century. In October 2020, it was removed for restoration. Sheinbaum and the President of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, indicated at the time that it was removed to prevent protesters from vandalizing it.
Instead of “Columbus Day”, the country celebrates on October 12th the “Dia de la Raza”, a holiday in which Mexicans recognize “Mexico’s mixed indigenous and European heritage”, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.
The sculptor Pedro Reyes will create a statue of an olmec woman. The Olmec people are considered to be one of the first great civilizations of what would become Mexico.
“It is very important to dedicate a monument to indigenous women and the Earth, because if anyone can teach us how to take care of this planet, it is our native peoples, and that is precisely what we must learn again,” said Reyes, quoted by the Mexican The universal.
The statue of Columbus will be transferred to Parque América, a park in the Polanco neighborhood of Mexico City, the same newspaper reported.