Christopher Columbus has lost his head in Boston, and his statue has been torn down in Minneapolis. But that’s just the start, it appears.
A list of people on the social media platform Change.org is demanding that the statue of William Seward be removed from the plaza in front of the Alaska Capitol in Juneau.
The statue honors the American credited with the 1867 purchase of Alaska from Russia.
“In 2016 a statue was raised in Juneau of William H. Seward, who was a colonizer who contributed to the disenfranchisement of Alaska Native peoples,” wrote the petition creator Jennifer LeRoe, of Juneau. Over 400 people have signed the petition, which was addressed to Rep. Sara Hannan and Sen. Jesse Kiehl, Juneau Democrats.
“In this current climate, where other monuments depicting racists and representatives of slavery are being taken down across the country, Juneau should honor our Indigenous hosts whose land we stand upon and remove William H. Seward from the capital courtyard,” the petition concludes.
Over 400 people have signed the petition online since it was created on June 10. The reasons they gave include that Seward was a bad man, that colonization was bad, and that indigenous people feel disrespected by the statue.
Seward was a leading abolitionist, who was President Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of State, and served as New York’s 12th governor and then as a member of the U.S. Senate, where he was an ardent antislavery activist.