Statue of Indigenous woman to replace Columbus in Mexico City
The statue of Columbus on Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City will finally be replaced by a sculpture created in homage to Indigenous women.
In commemoration of Indigenous Women's Day, celebrated on Sept. 5, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum made the decision to replace the Christopher Columbus statue, located on Paseo de la Reforma, with a statue in honor of Indigenous women.
Although the statue of Columbus will be relocated to América Park, the decision has caused much controversy.
"The statue of Columbus will be relocated to América Park, in the Miguel Hidalgo mayor's office, in collaboration with the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH)," the Mexico City Government informed in a press release.
The First Lady, Beatriz Gutiérrez Müller, writer an researcher, celebrated the decision to remove the statue of Columbus and put the statue of an Indigenous woman in its place.
"This 2021, so symbolic because of the anniversaries that are being remembered, is also an invitation to reflect: I insist, let's decolonize history," said Gutierrez.
Together with INAH, the statue Tlali, in honor of the Indigenous women of Mexico, will be placed in the so-called Glorieta de Colón.
Tlali is in production at the workshop of Mexican sculptor Pedro Reyes, and will to be 6.5 meters high. 'Tlali' means 'Earth' in Nahuatl and the artist said that the Earth is a female figure, as we all come from and return to it.
"The Earth is not only our past, in the 21st century, our survival depends on the care we take of it. If anyone can teach how to take care of this planet, it is the original peoples. That is what we must return to see," said Reyes.
The decision to place a statue paying homage to Indigenous women has been applauded by the anti-colonialist movements in the country and region. However, they do not agree with the relocation of Columbus, and instead, want a total removal of the strongest colonial image in Latin America.
"To disappear, to remove monuments and other architectural and artistic elements that are part of the great identity of Mexico City, without even asking the citizens, seems arbitrary to me," said former President Felipe Calderón on Twitter.
AMLO's administration is on a crusade to "rewrite" the history of the conquest, and highlighting the role of Indigenous resistance.