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Kalamazoo changes Columbus Day, keeps controversial fountain

Jim Roberts
National Register of Historic Places
Kalamazoo's Bronson Park is home to the controversial Fountain of the Pioneers, which was dedicated in 1940.

Officials in Kalamazoo have agreed to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day instead of Columbus Day, but the city hasn't decided what to do with a statue that some say celebrates the forced removal of Native Americans.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reportsthat the Kalamazoo City Commission approved a resolution Monday to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday of October every year. The deputy city manager says the move is symbolic because Kalamazoo doesn't recognize Columbus Day.

Commissioners also discussed the Fountain of the Pioneers, which depicts a Native American wearing a headdress and facing a weapon-wielding settler. Several people at the Monday meeting called for its removal.

Commissioners didn't immediately make a motion regarding the fountain. But they agreed to re-open the conversation.

Kalamazoo now joins a growing number of Michigan cities that celebrate Indigenous People's Day, including Alpena, Ann Arbor, Detroit, East Lansing, Traverse City and Ypsilanti.

The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.
Emma is a communications specialist with the digital team at Michigan Radio. She works across all departments at Michigan Radio, with a hand in everything from digital marketing and fundraising to graphic design and website maintenance. She also produces the station's daily newsletter, The Michigan Radio Beat.
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