Mexico City Will Replace a Statue of Christopher Columbus With One of an Indigenous Woman

Civilizations existed in the Americas long before Columbus arrived.


The statue of the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus situated in the main avenue of Mexico City will be replaced by a sculpture of an Indigenous woman, Mexico City officials have announced.

Mexican officials removed the Columbus statue last year for restoration purposes. It will not return to its former spot in the city. 

According to city officials and Mexico City Mayer Claudia Sheinbaum, the former spot will be replaced by a statue of an Indigenous woman to recognize the contributions of Mexico’s native peoples.

On Sunday, Sheinbaum announced the Day of the Indigenous Woman, saying the Italian colonizer’s legacy is to be seen through “two visions.” Namely the Euro-Centric and the recognition that civilizations existed in the Americas long before Columbus arrived. 

“We owe it to [Mexico’s Indigenous peoples] and we exist because of them. It is the history of our country and our homeland,” Sheinbaum said. 

The Columbus statue made out of bronze was featured on Paseo de la Reforma, the main avenue in Mexico City since the late 19th century. In October 2020, officials removed the statue to undergo restoration. According to a report by Al Jazeera, city officials were considering the legacy of the man it remembered. 

Al Jazeera also reported that Mexico City’s Mayor and Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador considered removing the Columbus statue to prevent protestors from vandalizing it. The statue has been damaged on previous occasions, including protests in 1992, the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ arrival in the Americas. 

In order to honor the civilizations before Columbus arrived, sculptor Pedro Reyes will create a  statue of the Indigenous woman, an Olmec woman. The Olmec people are considered one of the first major civilizations that would become Mexico. 

Reyes said in a statement with the Mexican newspaper El Universal, that “It’s very important to dedicate a monument to indigenous women and to the Earth, because anyone can teach us how to take care of our planet, it’s our native peoples, and that is precisely what we must learn again.”  

The bronze Columbus statue will be moved to a park in Mexico City’s Polanco neighborhood.

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