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Indigenous and Environmental Activists Call for Removal of McKinley Statue in Arcata
by Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters (BACH [at]
Wednesday Feb 21st, 2018 10:58 AM
At the Arcata City Council meeting on Wed., Feb. 21, the Pacific Alliance for Indigenous and Environmental Action (PAIEA) affiliates will add their voices to those calling for the removal of the statue of President McKinley from the Arcata Plaza, as well as the plaque mentioning “Indian troubles”. After a walk and rally, they will converge on the Arcata City Council meeting Wednesday (Feb. 21) night.
PAIEA members from as far away as Pt. Arena, Willits and Petrolia will urge removal of the statue and plaque, demonstrating that objection to the McKinley statue is widespread beyond the Arcata city limits. Statements and letters from those unable to attend the City Council will be read or entered into the record.

Priscilla Hunter, Coyote Valley Tribal representative and Chair of the Sinkyone Wilderness Council of Ten Nations and a founding member of PAIEA declared, “The statue and plaque symbolize the history of oppression, suffering and near annihilation of Native Americans by white settlers, and should not be displayed or celebrated”.

In a statement to City Council members, Willits Mayor Madge Strong, speaking as an individual, wrote: “I don’t believe it is appropriate to put this question to a popular vote of the town, just as it would not be appropriate for a predominantly white southern town to vote on segregation. Human rights take precedence over majority rule. This is a matter of respecting those who, very justifiably, take offense at idolizing oppressors of the past.”

A walk and rally will precede the City Council meeting, starting at 3:30 pm. PAIEA members and children will walk a ceremonial redwood log symbolizing the plight of the planet from Arcata’s Sunset Ave. and North Town, joining a rally calling for the statue’s removal, on the Plaza at 5:30 pm, before proceeding to the City Council chambers a few blocks away.

Twenty-five people from organizations and Tribes spanning three generations and several North Coast counties, met in Arcata on Feb. 11 for the second annual meeting of the newly-formed bioregional organization, the Pacific Alliance for Indigenous and Environmental Action, to share information about local and global environmental issues and cultural concerns and to find ways to support each other. The newly adopted mission statement is as follows:

“The Pacific Alliance of Indigenous and Environmental Action (PAIEA) is an alliance of groups and individuals dedicated to protect, preserve and restore the traditional cultures and ecosystems of the Pacific Coast. In this united front we pledge to honor, respect and learn from each other and fully integrate into our actions the protection of Mother Earth. We will accomplish this by using negotiation, litigation, community organizing, media, public outreach and non-violent direct action.”

The group has already started putting words into action with their presence at the City Council meeting, and the Log Walk, also a PAIEA project.

Originating from a dream, the Log Walk manifested as a Walk to Heal the Forest. The Log has already been carried from southern Mendocino County, where it highlighted the problem of herbicide use on forestland, through Richardson Grove, still threatened by Caltrans’ highway widening plans, and floated down the Eel to the Mattole River, where saving old growth on Humboldt County Redwood Co. land is paramount, and now up to Arcata.

The Alliance also backs a still-pending historic lawsuit by the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians and the Round Valley Indian Tribes against Caltrans for desecration of cultural sites and withholding artifacts during construction of the Willits Bypass, and supports the relocation of the lighthouse in Trinidad away from the Tsurai village site.
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keep us posted!take 'em down!Wednesday Feb 21st, 2018 10:23 PM