It is clear that there is substantial amount of sentiment for the Riverside Park statue, but in my opinion, the history of its rationale and design shows its main purpose was as a tourist attraction, not primarily as tribute to local tribes.
Furthermore, the Native American population do not regard it highly; we who are of Euro-American background should not have first say in what happens to this folk art structure.
Tourist appeal and the other reasons for building something in that prominent spot in the city can be accomplished in other ways. Thus, and especially in view of the continuing need for expensive upkeep, I think removal of the statue is wise.
Let me suggest an alternative: rather than trying to think up another memorializing statue, why not construct an elevated viewing platform to help all see the three-river confluence and surrounding scenery.
Such a feature could be designed to evoke the bluffs, provide guidance and learning about the area, and perhaps be faced with native stone.
Obviously it would need safe design, good access, and reasonable upkeep. It would have another advantage, not being a tribute to any person, group or movement.
James Terman, La Crosse
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