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A controversial statue that critics have deemed as "San Francisco's monument to white supremacy" is coming off its pedestal.

The bronze statue that shows a partially clothed Native American man at the feet of two men -- a cowboy and a Catholic missionary -- will be plucked from its prominent location in San Francisco in a process that begins in coming weeks.

To its critics, the bronze statue called "Early Days" is an offensive and condescending depiction of Native Americans that fails to acknowledge racism, colonization and genocide.

And this week, the San Francisco Arts Commission unanimously agreed to remove "Early Days" from the city's Pioneer Monument, which contains a cluster of five statues.

"This racist and disrespectful sculpture has no place in the heart of our city," the commission said in a statement.

Efforts to remove "Early Days" started in the 1990s when the group of statues were being moved to construct a new main library. Some Native Americans wanted the whole monument and especially "Early Days" gone. Instead, the statues along with "Early Days" were moved to their current location with a new plaque that explained the history of what happened to California's Native Americans.

The controversy resurfaced last year over the uproar over Confederate monuments in the South. Almost immediately after the events in Charlottesville in August, the San Francisco Arts Commission began receiving public requests to remove "Early Days."

The statue is to be taken down and placed in storage with an estimated cost of $160,000 to $200,000. A plaque will be placed near where it once stood explaining why it has been taken down, according to the Arts Commission.

Amanda St. Amand • 314-340-8201

@mandystlpd on Twitter


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