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The "Hiawatha" statue was built with good intentions by the artist, according to my memory.

If its dress or demeanor does not represent the local Native Americans, it was not from any disrespect. To remove it or destroy it will cost a lot of money, but besides that, it will further cloud the issue of what our Native American neighbors believe is disrespectful of them and will just add to what divides us, rather than lead to more understanding and respect.

A suggestion is to invite our Native neighbors into a discussion to add to the statue by way of other art, by adding Native history to the nearby museum, by adding an outdoor display expressly devoted to presenting their history.

All people of the Coulee Region deserve to have their history honored. To just destroy what was meant to celebrate them, even if they were not consulted at the time, is just another exercise in negativism, and I think most of us would rather use this concern as an opportunity to expand our understanding of one another.

Susan McCurdy, La Crosse