The “cancelled” statue of Theodore Roosevelt that was hauled away in the dead of night from the American Museum of Natural History’s steps should be headed for the scrap heap rather than a presidential library in North Dakota, a group of woke academics and artists claims.
The bronze depiction of the Rough Rider on horseback flanked by an African man and Native American, which was decried as colonialistic and racist, is slated to go to a planned Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library in Medora, N.D. It was removed in January and is currently in storage in NYC.
“New Yorkers cannot simply dump their toxic cultural products in other communities,” according to an online petition by the academics started last month. “The city should reject the transfer of its undesirable waste elsewhere. In this case, the monument’s bronze content could be melted down or recycled for a better purpose or simply disposed of.”
The petition had drawn more than 275 signatures since it was posted on Tumblr last month. It was started by members of Decolonize This Place, a left-wing activist group which pushed for the statue’s removal.
NYC’s Public Design Commission voted in June to remove the famed “Equestrian Statue,” which had been at the Upper West Side museum since 1940.
The agreement to loan it to the Roosevelt library came in November. The organization has said it is considering its display as a “tool to study the nation’s past.”
Theodore Roosevelt V, a Roosevelt descendant, has called the statue “problematic” but said he didn’t want it shunted away.
“Rather than burying a troubling work of art, we ought to learn from it,” he said in November.
The library is to be located near the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which includes land that once belonged to the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation. Roosevelt owned a ranch in the area.
“I’m not a big fan of Theodore Roosevelt. He’s made some really disparaging remarks about Native Americans,” Mark Fox, chairman of the MHA Nation, said in November.