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Group drops anti-Columbus murals banner in Hesburgh Library

| Friday, December 8, 2017

An activist group unfurled a banner condemning the Gregori murals in Main Building from the second floor of Hesburgh Library on Friday morning.

The banner, dropped by the Michiana chapter of the Rising Tide activism group, proclaimed “This is Potawatomi land! F— the KKKolumbus murals!” The demonstration occurred in the midst of an ongoing debate about the place of the murals, which were painted by Luigi Gregori and depict Christopher Columbus and Native Americans, on Notre Dame’s campus.

Recently, the Native American Student Association of Notre Dame (NASAND) organized a peaceful protest of the murals and a town hall to discuss their portrayal of Native Americans and community members signed a letter to University President Fr. John Jenkins advocating for their removal.

In a statement emailed to The Observer, Rising Tide said the banner drop was intended to support the Notre Dame students who have spoken out against the murals.

“White supremacy must be dismantled as part of the fight to preserve life on Earth,” the group said. “We will take further actions in support of indigenous people’s demands to address these racist murals.”

NASAND said in a statement emailed to The Observer that the group “appreciates that people outside of our organization are enthusiastic about getting rid of the murals.”

“These murals stir up strong emotion, especially in the people being misrepresented,“ the group said. ”We welcome more dialogue about the murals and the response from native and non-native students alike.

University spokesperson Dennis Brown said in an email that while the administration is not planning to remove the murals from Main Building, it is working with NASAND to alleviate concerns about them.

“The Columbus murals are of historic and artistic value, and the University has no plans to remove them,” he said. “ In addition, and as we’ve told the NASAND students, we are open to creating prominent signage about the murals in the central hallway of the Main Building.”
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