NEWS AMERICAS, SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO, Mon. July 13, 2020: Indigenous folks took to the streets of the US Caribbean territory of Puerto Rico over the weekend to demand statues of colonialists be eliminated.
Member of the Council in Défense of the Indigenous Rights of Boriken, some wearing Taino conventional clothes, marched via Previous San Juan, Puerto Rico on July 11, 2020 demanding the elimination of symbols honouring colonial oppression, together with statues of Christopher Columbus and Juan Ponce de Leon.
“These statues symbolize all that historical past of violence, of invasion, of looting, of theft, of homicide,” stated an activist who goes by the title of Pluma and is a member of Puerto Rico’s Council for the Protection of Indigenous Rights. “These are crimes towards humanity.”
Many banged on drums and blew on conch shells to demand that the U.S. territory’s authorities begin by eradicating the statues of Spanish colonizers.
Columbus landed in Puerto Rico in 1493 accompanied by Spaniard Ponce de León, who later turned the island’s first governor and quelled an rebellion by the native Tainos, a subgroup of the Arawak Indians. Historians and anthropologists consider that as much as 60,000 Tainos lived in Puerto Rico on the time, however they had been quickly pressured into labor and succumbed to infectious illness outbreaks.
Centuries later, native authorities officers honored each explorers by erecting statues and naming streets and plazas after them throughout Puerto Rico. The Columbus Plaza is situated on the entrance of Previous San Juan and bears a statue of Columbus unveiled in 1893 to have fun the 400th anniversary of his arrival. In the meantime, a close-by statue of Ponce de León stands dealing with south along with his left hand on his hip and proper finger pointed towards the primary settlement he based.
The march got here as Puerto Ricans’ curiosity within the territory’s indigenous previous continues to develop and as statues of Columbus have been eliminated or toppled elsewhere within the U.S. mainland following an uproar over racism after the police killing of George Floyd. Protesters in Baltimore threw a Columbus statue right into a harbor, whereas they beheaded one other one in Boston.