Vandals target pioneer monument, Washington statue

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minneapolis Park Police are investigating after vandals toppled a statue of George Washington and defaced a pioneer monument with anti-colonialist graffiti early Thanksgiving morning.

The Star Tribune reports a statue of Washington was torn from its base in Washburn Fair Oaks Park and splashed with paint.

Several miles away, in northeast Minneapolis’ BF Nelson Park, the large granite “Pioneers Statue” was spray painted with the words “no thanks,” “no more genocide,” “decolonize” and “land back.”

The monument depicts three generations of a pioneer family, whose men are holding a rifle, ax and plow. A woman and her newborn stand at their side. On the back of the statue’s base, an engraving shows an American Indian handing a peace pipe to Father Hennepin.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board was aware of complaints about the content and subject matter of the statue, a spokeswoman said.

Park maintenance crews have been notified about the vandalism. No one has been arrested.

The destruction comes six months after protesters pulled down a Christopher Columbus statue outside the State Capitol this summer.

Michael A. Forcia, a prominent American Indian Movement leader, was charged with felony destruction of property in the June 10 incident.

Gov. Tim Walz decided not to restore the statue.

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