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Hiawatha

The Hiawatha statue in Riverside Park.

No one has made a formal move to remove the “Hiawatha” statue in Riverside Park; however, the debate ignited Wednesday continued Friday morning as the city’s Arts Board reviewed the results of its listening session earlier this week.

Several people spoke out during the event, co-hosted by the arts board and Human Rights Commission, against the 25-foot sculpture that has stood at the north end of the park since 1961, arguing that, regardless of the intentions of the artist, the late Anthony Zimmerhakl, it represents a caricature of indigenous people.

Doug Weidenbach, who chairs the La Crosse Arts Board, declined to suggest what the board or the city should do with the information gathered during Wednesday’s listening session.

“The board has the responsibility to suggest policy, not to make policy,” Weidenbach said. “I don’t know that we need to do anything today, but as one of the comments was said, this is not an object where we’re talking about, ‘Let’s take a wrecking ball and take it down right now.’”

However, he said, the sculpture is worth discussing, particularly weighing questions of whether to erect some sort of addition to act as a counterpoint, whether to replace it or if there is a way to modernize it.

Board member Dick Record said he went away from Wednesday’s discussion “pretty frustrated.”

“I’m not sure how you erect art — whether you hang it on the wall or put it in the park — and expect to please everybody, because that ain’t gonna happen,” Record said.

“The artist did it with great intent, and I don’t know if we should have the ability to control that, because you’re controlling creativity, and I don’t think that’s a great idea,” he added.

Downtown Mainstreet Inc. executive director Robin Moses, who is also on the board, said it was clear that the statue elicits strong feelings, adding “it can be very personal.”

“There is a lot to be said about if there is a community that feels very strongly about that statue, I think that it would be good to review if there was a way to find some common ground,” Moses said.

During the meeting, La Crosse Common Council member Gary Padesky renewed his arguments for keeping the statue, saying it was built by Anthony Zimmerhakl as a way to honor a culture he felt was important and the city should not remove art based on its offensiveness.

“There are a lot of us who had Mr. Zimmerhakl as a teacher, who grew up here, who have a lot of personal feelings for that statue or of art in particular,” Padesky said.

La Crosse resident Shannon McKinney agreed that the city should not make decisions based on whether something is offensive.

“This argument is never-ending because being offended has to do with personal opinion. Whenever there is an opinion, you can guarantee that someone will be offended,” McKinney said.

She added that the statue was “a cultural icon” and said any question of removing it should be put out to referendum for a citywide vote.

“People have been going to the statue for years. People in our community identify with this statue. It’s become important to our community,” McKinney said.

The artist’s son, Dave Zimmerhakl, now lives in Lake Elmo, Minn. In an interview Friday, the 72-year-old, who remembers mixing cement to help his father construct the statue during four summers in the late 1950s and early 1960s, said it should stay where it is but stressed that was just his personal view.

“I would not recommend removing it. That’s my opinion. I think there’s nothing disrespectful about it,” Zimmerhakl said.

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While Zimmerhakl had heard about the controversy 17 years ago, he was surprised to learn Friday that members of the Ho-Chunk Nation objected to the statue earlier this week and called it a caricature of their culture that didn’t represent them.

“He was always very respectful of Indians and the Indian lore and stuff like that,” Zimmerhakl said.

The younger Zimmerhakl was in junior high when he helped build the sculpture and wasn’t involved in researching it.

“I don’t remember what Indian tribes Hiawatha was supposed to have been from. I wish I knew more about what he had read and he talked to different people and stuff,” Zimmerhakl said.

Ironically, the only way to know for sure is locked away inside Hiawatha’s rib cage, in a time capsule in which the artist included a couple pages on his artistic decisions, as well as a photo of his family, a few coins from 1961 and a newspaper article about the project.

“I never read the two pages that he wrote,” Zimmerhakl said.

Zimmerhackl remembered his father as someone who had a “soft spot” for Native American culture. He recalled his grandfather and father mentioning an ancestral connection to a Native American tribe, but said the memory was pretty vague. He added, “It would have been a pretty small part, probably.”

Dan Green

Green

Vicki Markussen mug

Markussen

“The Indian was always his pride and joy. He liked that,” Zimmerhakl said.

However, members of the Ho-Chunk Nation say the statue is a source of pain, rather than pride, for local Native Americans.

“Regardless of whether it was made to honor Native Americans, whatever the intention was, intentions do not determine consequences,” said Daniel Green, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and University of Wisconsin-La Crosse lecturer, during Wednesday’s discussion.

Greater La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce director Vicki Markussen said during Friday’s meeting that as the group that commissioned the sculpture in the late 1950s, the chamber would like to be a part of any decision regarding its future.

“Our chamber would like the opportunity to go and talk to the Ho-Chunk so we can find some solutions moving forward. That’s a critical conversation that needs to be had, and as one of the originators of that statue, it’s our role to find the next leg of that conversation,” Markussen said.


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Reporter

Jourdan Vian is a reporter and columnist covering crime and courts for the La Crosse Tribune. You can contact her at 608-791-8218 or jvian@lacrossetribune.com.

(74) comments

Buggs Raplin

I've dealt with oldhomey for a long time. I can tell you he's the most dishonest person on these boards. He has attacked me personally on numerous occasions, whilst hiding behind a curtain of anonymity. He specializes in 'astroturf.' Google Emmy award winning journalist Sharyl Attkisson's 10 minute video if you are unaware of astroturf. Here oldhomey accuses me of smoking marijuana (doobies). I don't smoke marijuana. I've told him that, but he keeps up the accusation. He is a fraud.-Chip DeNure aka Buggs Raplin

Hey19

Well said, Buggs.

Cassandra

Still waiting for you to provide that evidence about the Vegas Strip being "raked by gunfire" Chippy.
You really have no business calling anyone "dishonest" when you constantly lie and make unfounded claims to promote your ridiculous conspiracy theories.

oldhomey

As for Buggs' 8:20am post, he once again takes the coward's way out and posts when he will only have a "Report" option under his post. That way, when I reply to him, as I do now, he knows it will also have only a "Report" option under it so he can use his lame, lying excuse that there is no way for him to reply. I will re-post this to make sure there is a "+AddReply" option, making it harder for him to duck.

My message is this, Buggs: Mr. Czeczok jumped on here with an opinion, citing his "facts", and his facts were all wrong. I called his errors to his attention. You accuse me of "essential dihonesty, lying and obfuscating. Show me one lie I have made in these exchanges. One. Then you say I have the "unbridled audacity to champion truth that induce[s] nausea". Like anybody else, I can have misinformed opinions, myself, but I try to keep an open mind and accept the truth when I realize my misinformation. Do you? And certainly I try to champion the truth. I know the truth can induce nausea, particularly for people who almost always are on the wrong side of the truth. That is why you must experience nausea daily when you read reaction from others who have read your comments on these opinion strings. So don't blame your martinis and doobies for making you feel like upchucking every morning. That is not from hangovers, it is from getting caught in your own web of lies, constantly.

Rick Czeczok

Stinky, you base your facts on today, look back in the years and you will find that history will prove you so wrong. Once again your opinion and yours alone is right and all others are wrong. I find you psychologically quite humorous in your simple way of thinking. Me, me, me, look at me. attack, attack, attack. By the way start reading history books, rather then google for your facts. The Lacrosse river emptied into the Black river and the Black river emptied into the Mississippi. The lacrosse and black river are the rivers are the two rivers I spoke of. You can actually add additional rivers very close that to the 3 or 4 you mention. The channels have changed substantially over the centuries, nice try though. Buggs doesn't always agree with me nor I him but we do respect others opinions. Now unless you attack me, or start using your real name, I won't bother with your simple mind any longer.
I hope with the coming holidays you find some kind of peace.

LaCrosseTaxPayer

Hey snowflake, ‘BREAKING NEWS: THE PITY TRAIN HAS JUST DERAILED AT THE INTERSECTION OF SUCK IT UP & MOVE ON, AND CRASHED INTO WE ALL HAVE PROBLEMS, BEFORE COMING TO A COMPLETE STOP AT GET THE HECK OVER IT. ANY COMPLAINTS ABOUT HOW WE OPERATE CAN BE FORWARDED TO 1-800-WAA-WAAA. THIS IS DR. SNIFFLE REPORTING FROM QUITCHUR FUSSIN’, its only art!

Buggs Raplin

In the final analysis, no council person in La Crosse will do anything to remove the statue. Got that? It's a dead issue.

Cassandra

How easily some people dismiss the feelings and attitudes of minorities. It's as if the feelings of those who are being oppressed don't matter.
I'm shocked. (Yeah, not really.)

DMoney

Yup let's destroy everything that a minority of people disagree with. We'd have nothing, everyone is offended by something.

Cassandra

DBag, why not put up a statue extolling the virtues of slavery? It really is equivalent.

DaisyL

Art is always pretty much interpretive to the artist as well as the viewer of the art. Over the last several years American Indian tribes have had issues w/the use of Indian names, mascots, logos or whatever so this statue is not a surprise as to another angst. That being said, perhaps only acceptable art depicting Indians needs to be created by Indians only. If this art brings out this kind of conversation, the big blue egg will create outright chaos here. La Crosse might be well advised to only accept or create art that is to be publically displayed of subjects such as Eagles, deer or landscapes & only art pieces that are only of realistic design. Much safer subject matter as long as it's realistically accurate.

lutefisk

Ok..tear it down. But erect a ho chunk dealing blackjack to a senior citizen in a wheelchair on oxygen

HonestAbe

If they want to rid our park of their heritage, , , throw it in the river for fish habitat. it has always shown respect to them, but now they'd rather be known for bingo halls & casinos. Let start renaming street names too and Americanize our culture while they dictate theirs.

Cassandra

Wow, not racist at all.

larslives2ski

28 comments! If only we could get people to discuss the important talk pics of our day with such vehement! Topic such as the tax reform bill and wealth and income inequality, the decline in opportunities for young people to find constructive work, age discrimination in the workforce, drugs and violence, and War , famine across the world common displacement of peoples through ethnic and religious violence, climate change , and on and on...

oldhomey

Lars, perhaps you could do one less ski run a day and read the comments sections of the op ed pieces a bit more assiduously. You will see that people often discuss (at least joust and argue) ad nauseum on these topics. Most of it is pretty pointless and silly, but if you feel that Trump and the alt right movement is undermining the honesty and integrity of the nation, as I do, it is hard not to object to the lies and misinformation that gets flung around these days.

Rick Czeczok

Lonely, lonely man, no wonder they won't let you teach anymore.

oldhomey

Interesting, Rick. I am grateful for the compliment -- your assumption that I was once a teacher, one of the noblest professions in the human experience. Unfortunately, other than a single class taught 40 some years ago as an adjunct, I never taught in my life. And that single experience in teaching taught me that I was certainly not cut out to be a teacher. As for your apparent assumption that retired teachers are lonely, I don't know where you get that. I know many retired teachers, none that I know of who are lonely. You seem to make a lot of assumptions, Rick. It's probably a major reason why you are so wrong-headed so much of the time.

Wi Fan

FMC, the Tribune reporter did not add it to her story but Mr Green said that the statue was part of the problem faced by 18-24 year old Native Americans, to include substance abuse and suicide...sorry but that isn't the case. It's not the statue causing the issue, it is the lifestyle caused by giving an 18 year old a large amount of $ and no guidance. Do some research into, including a former Tribune article that chronicled the issues and the discussion the tribe had about changing the practice. In short, Mr Green opened the door by saying the statue was causing the problem

maki

Interesting, a group of white people who don’t give a darn about the feelings of Native Americans. Why am I not surprised? These people making comments would probably support a giant statue of “Little Black Sambo” in the park. Just because the man who constructed the statue had good intentions doesn’t mean the statue should stay up. Like the old saying goes “the road to hell is paved with good intensions”.
Why should the children be taught that we want what we want and we don’t care about others. It’s good the zoo is gone too. Those monkeys were kept in a stinky little building all winter. The bear was killed because he wasn’t cute anymore. The badger had a tiny little cage. Good riddance to the zoo and good riddance to the tribeless “big Indian”.

BudandDot

What indian tribes have protested this statue since 1961? Now why should white people protest it if isnt bothering indians? This goes along the lines of people moving into WI and crying about the Christmas Stars around the area.

FMC651

It is pretty cheesy "art" and asking the guy that made it if it should still stand is absurd.

MsGabby4

I wish the liberals would go put their heads in the sand and stay there

NotToday

While at Rotary Lights tonight, do you know what my 8- and 6-year-old children were most excited to see? The Indian Statue. They were just as amazed by this statue and showed it just as much respect as I did when I was a child as have the previous and hopefully future generations. The amount of time and effort the artist put into this monumental piece of work (his son mentioned helping him for 4 summers in a row) in order to honor the place where 3 rivers meet is amazing in and of itself, but also the legends and stories that have passed from generation to generation while viewing this statue would not be passed on if this wasn't erected as a reminder. I have never heard anyone mock the statue or look at it with anything other than reverence. If someone had spent that much time erecting a statue to honor any other heritage, of course 50+ years later the clothing they wore wouldn't be in style or representative of the current culture. Would someone who was German or Norwegian find it offensive if they were depicted wearing lederhosen? What if it was built to represent the first freed slaves from the area, like Nathan Hill? What would he be wearing that would accurately depict him without offending people? What if the giant 6-pack was considered offensive by people who don't drink? We just remove it? I have seen many, many works of art depicting the Native American culture in our area where they are wearing similar garments over the last 50 years. Considering the medium this artist used and the insane amount of time and effort he put into making it in honor of this sacred place, I don't see anything about it as cartoonish and never have. I was so shocked that after coming home from Rotary Lights where, again, my children were just as amazed by this long-standing iconic piece of art work as they were by the light show, only to read this article because their amazement and excitement at being able to see it again up close definitely proves that they don't see it as a joke. The fact that they would consider taking it down is heartbreaking and when someone compared it to Myrick Park, they were absolutely right! People complained about the park after it being a source of entertainment for generations only for it to be closed and replaced with what? Absolutely nothing. The only way it would offend anyone is if they didn't take the time to read when it was erected; how long it has stood there; what it represents; weren't aware of how much time, love and effort went into its construction and only saw it in passing and considered it cartoonish because otherwise that kind of assessment of it doesn't make any sense. Look at it in the spirit it was intended and know that if it were not for that statue, the story that goes along with it regarding where the 3 rivers meet would not be known to anyone or continue to be passed on. I had someone paint of picture of me before and my critical eye easily found parts that looked off, but I could never be offended by the fact someone spent so much time painting this beautiful portrait of me, only honored by it. I hope others consider all these factors before even considering making another huge mistake by removing yet another historical icon from our area only to come to very much regret it afterward when it is far too late and sorely missed.

oldhomey

Not Today wonders about if the statue was erected to honor an ethnicity other than Native Americans: "What if it was built to represent the first freed slaves from the area, like Nathan Hill? What would he be wearing that would accurately depict him without offending people?"

Well, Not Today, perhaps there should be a statue put up for Nathan Smith, the ex-slave for whom a hill is named in the county. It would clarify what his name is for you, at least. But African Americans might fairly object to a statue of him if the artist dressed him in a Zoot Suit and saddle shoes, or perhaps a 1970s pimp outfit with an outlandishly large hat and extreme lapels. Clothes don't actually make the man, but if a statue of the man is erected to honor a people, having him dressed in the correct garb of his people is rather important, don't you think?

I wouldn't worry about the story of where the three rivers meet getting forgotten. The rivers will probably still be here long after any man-made monuments erected in our particular episode of history have long crumbled to dust, or even having been crumped into dust on purpose.

Rick Czeczok

Mr negative speaks......

The Mouse of Death

[angry]It would behoove us to put up a Boris and Natasha statue to keep up with the times. Donald Trump is indeed bemezzled by Moose and Squirrel as they continue to confound the Kremlin. Also, too, Paul Manafort, General Flynn and Mr. Ivanka Kushner is a Hillary lock him up.

Buggs Raplin

Mouse, this is probably...no..strike that..this is your best ever commentary. You speak eloquently and persuavely to the issue at hand. We all owe you a debt of gratitude. I'd recommend you for Person of the Year, but the voting was over a week ago.

oldhomey

And it is worth mentioning, Buggs, the vote for La Crosse Person of the Year was fixed. I heard it through Breitbart, which got it from Guccifer 2.0, the mouthpiece of the Russian intelligence agency that now runs the U.S. since the inauguration early this year.

Buggs Raplin

I know Hillary rigged it last year to steal it from me.

Rick Czeczok

The American Indians was a proud people, that statue stands for them and no one else.
It stands majestically where two rivers meet, and that was a sacred place in many Indian cultures. Leave it, or replace it, but please stop taking down all the historic markers in our society. For if history is forgotten, it will soon repeat itself.
Merry Christmas everyone.

oldhomey

It is so good, Rick, that you have absorbed these sacred lessons from the statue that Not Today also points out. It appears, however, that proper memory of the historic river lore already is beginning to deteriorate. If we lose the statue, we might be down to one river with nothing to meet up with it.

Rick Czeczok

Homer (Simpson), I have never heard, seen, or read anyone who is more negative towards every subject or subject matter, then you. I feel sorry for you and wish you a Merry Christmas, or whatever, if any holiday you celebrate. Please get some help my friend.

Buggs Raplin

It's not really negativity. It's his essential dishonesty, his lies, his obfuscations, and his unbridled audacity to champion truth that induce nausea.

oldhomey

As for Buggs' 8:20am post, he once again takes the coward's way out and posts when he will only have a "Report" option under his post. That way, when I reply to him, as I do now, he knows it will also have only a "Report" option under it so he can use his lame, lying excuse that there is no way for him to reply. I will re-post this to make sure there is a "+AddReply" option, making it harder for him to duck.

My message is this, Buggs: Mr. Czeczok jumped on here with an opinion, citing his "facts", and his facts were all wrong. I called his errors to his attention. You accuse me of "essential dihonesty, lying and obfuscating. Show me one lie I have made in these exchanges. One. Then you say I have the "unbridled audacity to champion truth that induce[s] nausea". Like anybody else, I can have misinformed opinions, myself, but I try to keep an open mind and accept the truth when I realize my misinformation. Do you? And certainly I try to champion the truth. I know the truth can induce nausea, particularly for people who almost always are on the wrong side of the truth. That is why you must experience nausea daily when you read reaction from others who have read your comments on these opinion strings. So don't blame your martinis and doobies for making you feel like upchucking every morning. That is not from hangovers, it is from getting caught in your own web of lies, constantly.

oldhomey

Oh, Ricky, I am SO sorry! I just thought that I should point out that you had already subtracted the three rivers lore down to two, and I thought I would try to humorously call it to your attention. I know it hurts when somebody calls it to your attention that you don't know what you are talking about, that you are not dealing with the actual facts. It happens to all of us. I don't like it when it happens to me, but I suck it up and call it a learning experience. I don't crybaby that the person correcting me is being unnecessarily negative about the world. I thank you for your concern about my mental well-being, but it is misplaced, just as your information is about where the two rivers meet.

Rick Czeczok

Misplaced, uninformed, big words for someone who can't teach anymore. Did you teach only one side to your students too? Great job, find a friend....ya right like that is going to happen any time soon.....

oldhomey

Well, Ricky, when it comes to rivers, at least I can count to three, so give me SOME credit. Please! I need some sort of positive reinforcement here, because I am DYING of loneliness!

Hey19

re: oldhomey Dec 9, 2017 9:03pm

Quote of the day: "I know it hurts when somebody calls it to your attention that you don't know what you are talking about, that you are not dealing with the actual facts. It happens to all of us. I don't like it when it happens to me, but I suck it up and call it a learning experience."

Yeah, right, liar. ROFLMAO
Good one, old dude.

Rick Czeczok

Homer, since you have given nick names out and cower not to give your real name I will give you a suitable name to match your personality. Let's see, OK, Stinky will be your new name for everyone to use. The reason I chose that name is because I was told that closed minded, and one sided people have stinky brains. So.
Stinky your brain needs a bath.

oldhomey

Gosh, Rick, you really know how to use devastating ridicule to put your opponents in their place. Stinky brains!!! How could you be SO cruel! I can imagine the entire Coulee Region laughing hysterically at me now, thanks to you, you bully!

oldhomey

Well, Buggs, what about the artistic conceptions you say were found in a certain Washington DC pizza parlor (though they never existed, it looks like). Those pictures, you said depicted adults sexually abusing small children. Should those artistic conceptions be allowed to be saved and displayed? How about the hare-brained artistic "installation" by art student Dread Scott that requires the viewer to stand on an American flag in order to view the contents of the installation? Should that one get a permanent installation somewhere? Were the Germans wrong in removing all likenesses of Adolph Hitler? Many were created by the finest sculptors in Germany at the time. The Italians removing likenesses of Mussolini?

Could you concede that all things are relative and that a bad piece of art could be insulting to the people it was created for? Apparently most posters on this string know better than any danged Native Americans (why not call 'em what God calls them -- redskins or injuns) what they should find insulting and what they should not. What business is it of theirs, after all, what WE think of them? Harrumph.

Buggs Raplin

[offtopic]

oldhomey

Profound emoticon, Buggs. However, my comment directly confronted the topic that you brought up. Perhaps you should next consider publishing an emoticon that holds up a sign saying "OOPS!"

Buggs Raplin

[offtopic]

Rick Czeczok

Stinky, once again you missed and twist the subject matter. It's 5 rivers not 3 so try again. The LaCrosse and Black river met the Mississippi further down.
Stinky brain needs a bath.

Rick Czeczok

I know you say 3 I say 5 that's where you confuse me where are you stopping at, also the Mississippi is not the only river that is a tributary to dump into.
Open your mind and enjoy life. Everyone has an opinion, I have yet to meet anyone who gets even one right all the way. The more ideas the better the resolve.

I hope the holidays bring some joy to your life and attitude...

oldhomey

I am sorry you feel so wounded by my words, Mr. Czeczok. Now put yourself in the shoes of Native Americans reading these comments. How hurt do you think they must feel, and rightfully so, by what is being said here by many, including you? Indeed, everybody makes mistakes, and I have made far more than my share should have been. I certainly don't have a perfect record, but when I am wrong and when I have wrongfully hurt somebody's feelings, I try to apologize and set the record straight.

Hey19

re: oldhomey Dec 10, 2017 9:07pm

Another quote of the day:
"Indeed, everybody makes mistakes, and I have made far more than my share should have been. I certainly don't have a perfect record, but when I am wrong and when I have wrongfully hurt somebody's feelings, I try to apologize and set the record straight."

Yeah, right, liar.
Still waiting for the old dude to share the full story behind my nickname, and to set the record straight.

Carry on, troll.


Wi Fan

Google Ho Chunk dancers. They are dressed similarly to the statue. If it is the nose that people have issue with, I suggest you look around your neighborhood, noses come in all shapes and sizes. If that doesn't solve the concern, maybe a little "plastic surgery" would make people happy. As far as perceived issues some Native Americans feel they face, I suggest that they look at all of the problems their members face due to the mismanagement of their "18 money". Giving kids unsupervised access to that kind of money is ridiculous. Especially in light of all of these studies saying the brain matures around age 21. Leave the statue and let's stop trying to legislate everyone's feelings...or remove all statues and art. If we give into 1 group you must give in to all

FMC651

You have gone off the reservation. What does "18 money" have to do with the topic of the statue. It doesn't, focus please and leave out your take on other matters that do not concern you.

raw54603

"It is an artist's conception. It is not disrespectful. Let it stand." I TOTALLY AGREE!!!! You shall never please all, NO MATTER WHAT!!! LEAVE IT BE! LET IT STAND TALL and PROUD!!!!

Redwall

This is an issue manufactured by the Fibune and the Human Rights Commission. This so-called listening session, as it was billed when announced, should have been held at a public place. Instead it was held in the HoChunk tribal building, where this matter was certain to arise, perhaps even planned in advance.

The meeting, as I understand it, was nothing more than the usual liberals talking to one another in an echo chamber. Those holding a contrary view were threatened by HoChunk representatives that they would be kicked out of the meeting and off HoChunk property if they voiced contrary views.


Buggs Raplin

Excellent comment. Thanks Redwall.

senior

Leave it alone, the Indians were the first people to live in La Crosse, This was their land. The artist worked day and night on the structure, it was accepted then and should be accepted now. Just because there is so much hostility about race and gender, I am hoping it will go away, and by that time every statue, or piece of art that is around the country will be torn apart for some stupid reason and be gone. Those who want the destruction of everything, go away, you won't be here forever and it will be like you never were here. Leave things alone, go find another problem to solve in your mind!! I have some of the artists art work and cherish it, we are fortunate to have that statue in the park!

Redwall

Yes, its not only a matter of whether to take the statue down, but what it would be replaced with. The last notable time something like this happened, and the public trusted the local libs, we lost Myrick Park Zoo and ended up with nothing.

CJB

The issue probably arises from the misconception that everyone has the right to not be offended. Someone or some group is trying to make this about offense, when it is not. For example, if I intend to honor someone with a statue and someone else is offended, it is their problem, not mine. At the rate this is going, very soon no one will be able to create or communicate because Society's members are becoming too thin-skinned to tolerate anyone else's thoughts or deeds. Also, I think we would have to agree with other comments in this thread regarding the local paper's complicity in stirring up another controversy. (La Crosse's own version of Pravda)

Buggs Raplin

The Tribune is a thoroughly dishonest newspaper. And I mean thoroughly. I'd be ashamed to work there.

oldhomey

That is wise of you not seek Tribune employment, Buggs. You already have far too much to be ashamed about. You don't need the additional embarrassment of going to work for a newspaper and getting tossed out on your ear within days because of your constant lying and writing false and fictional stories while representing them as the truth.

OpinionsFree

I don’t know elocs. The same group complaining about the Hiawatha statue have mentioned they might disapprove of the La Crosse players statue. Maybe as ISIS had tried to do in the Middle East the only thing that would make this group happy is to erase every bit of history and any symbol that reminds them of it. They’ve gotten rid of every Native American reference in high school and college team names and have attacked Native American references used in other public places.

I never understood the elimination of tasteful references to great historic tribes and people but as one reader referenced earlier, as you erase the history one monument at a time, our youth learn, the from the only visual reference they have and will equate native Americans to a visual of a casino.

Cassandra

Wow. You really have NO concept of reality, do you?

elocs

People are resistant to change, particularly old people (I am one) who want things to stay just the same as they always were. There's not a person alive today who had Mr. Zimmerhakl as a teacher who is not now eligible for Social Security. Yes, he made the statue with good intentions but the simple truth is that it is a cartoonish caricature of what was viewed as an "Indian" by whites back in 1961. I'm sure the Native Americans of our region, this country's First Nations don't look upon a caricature of themselves with pride no matter how good the intentions were. Would any people be upset if a caricature statue of someone of German heritage was erected--inaccurate though it may be but made with good intentions? Sure they would.
Things change and it's hard for some people to deal with that but in 50 years from now nobody will care if that statue had been there and nobody will lament its removal.
But we have a great example of art right there in the park of the giant eagle as well as the one of the Native Americans playing "lacrosse" nearby or even the little boy waving his hat towards the river with the little girl and her dog beside her is another example of the kind of art we should see in the park.

DMoney

It's not the statue--it's the point. It's the idea that a small percentage of people who are offended can change the landscape of a community. If that's the case, and as a society we must now constantly change anything that offends anyone--we'll literally be changing everything, all the time. Everyone is offended by something.

Buggs Raplin

Excellent comment; thank you

oldhomey

Yes, Buggs, truly excellent, especially in this Christmas season. You will recall the story of a young carpenter and his pregnant wife, part of a sub-sect of Jews that was a small percentage of the population, came to Bethlehem 2,000 years ago for a national census. I don't know if they were "offended", but they had a different idea about religion, and that little sect went on and changed the landscape of the community. You could go back just 300 years ago when a small percentage of colonists began to take offense at the laws imposed on them and presumptions held about them by a king and his court on the other side of an ocean. The offense taken by that handful of colonists grew among their numbers until they indeed did change the landscape of a community. Or just go back 60 or so years when groups of African Americans -- a minority percentage of the nation's population -- took offense at being told they could not eat in public restaurants, could not ride at the front of the bus, could not vote. They took their offense and changed the landscape of the community. It is true everybody takes offense at something, and often it is misplaced offense, like DMoney's. Sometimes it is offense that we should all try to be sensitive to. And whether you or DMoney like it or not, we'll be changing everything all the time. It is called life. If we weren't ceaselessly learning and changing from what we learn, we'd all still be living in caves, chased by saber-toothed tigers. Is THAT the point? Live with it. Or am I being too negative about everything?

DMoney

You're comparing these events to removing statues? Erasing history is not the same as changing future course. Let's not burn books let's write new ones.

oldhomey

As a society, we don't burn bad books, DMoney, but certainly because they are bad, we don't celebrate them, either. At least we SHOULDN'T celebrate them.

Mein Kampf should be allowed to exist for the purpose of scholars, but we better get worried fast if all of a sudden it reappears as a popular best seller.

Books by disgraced leaders of the Confederacy, like a skewed two-volume history of the war by Jefferson Davis published after the Civil War inaugurated the so-called "Lost Cause" movement are still with us. We shouldn't burn the books, but certainly we should tell the open truth about the Confederacy to make sure people don't sympathize with the "Lost Cause", which argues the virtues of slavery before the Civil War, viewing the war as an honorable struggle for the Southern way of life, arguing falsely that slavery was not the main cause of the Civil War. We have prominent local airheads like Buggs Raplin still buying into this bad history.

Bad, inaccurate history is dangerous, ultimately. But simply putting bad history on back shelves of the library as an alternative to burning them is one thing, but what do you do with bad history cast in concrete and displayed in the most-visited public place in the city? Put a shroud over it? I would not want to be a politician asked to find the proper solution for this one. Whatever they decide is going to be explosively unacceptable to a significant number of people. It would be best if they decided to not do the popular thing, perhaps, but the right thing, and remove the statue that absolutely is an insult to the people it was intended to honor.

BudandDot

Exactly

Jorgy

It is just like the civil war monuments and flags, someone gets a hair up their butt and creates chaos because they want it their way! History is not the way liberal America is today, no respect because it is not taught now days, it might offend someone. Today it is all about them!

Old saying - those that do not study or learn history are doomed to repeat it!

overtaxed

Just remember the PAIN the Indians are feeling when you select a casino to go visit!!
Maybe the statue should be replaced with a huge slot machine to remind us if the Indians and there heritage. I'm sure that would suit them better!!

Melowese Richardson

Awaiting all the self loathing white beta males to remind us how awful and hateful this statue is. Get over yourselves.

Buggs Raplin

It is an artist's conception. It is not disrespectful. Let it stand.

Good Listener

exactly!

Cassandra

It is offensive to the people it supposedly honors. THEY should have the final say.

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