University moves statue of priest praying over Indians inside after complaints

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The St. Louis University statue titled "Where the Rivers Meet." (Credit: KTVI)

The St. Louis University statue titled “Where the Rivers Meet.” (Credit: KTVI)

ST. LOUIS — A statue now viewed as controversial has been relocated by Saint Louis University after faculty and students complained that it symbolizes white supremacy.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the sculpture titled “Where the Rivers Meet” has been moved from outside a residence hall to inside the Saint Louis University Museum of Art.

The sculpture depicts Jesuit missionary Pierre-Jean De Smet on an elevated platform above two Native Americans while holding a cross above his head.

Last month, the school’s student-run newspaper published an op-ed stating the statue seems to say to Native Americans that they are not welcome unless they submit to a culture and religion.

“The statue of De Smet depicts a history of colonialism, imperialism, racism and of Christian and white supremacy,” wrote Ryan McKinley in an editorial for the school’s paper, The University News. “This statue of De Smet is the clearest message that this university sends regarding American Indians, past and present. This message to American Indians is simple: “You do not belong here if you do not submit to our culture and our religion.”

This is not the first time students or faculty complained about the statue, according to Fox News. The school’s first-year president Fred Pestello told students in March he was taking complaints seriously.

University spokesman Clayton Berry said the statue, which was created in the 1800s, will now be a part of the museum’s “Collection of the Western Jesuit Missions” where it can be put into historical context.

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  • Ed Bland

    I am the great great grandson of SARAH JINKS who is daughter of BLACK ELK who is brother to SITTING BULL ~ FRUSTRATION is unavoidable with the message I am trying to get out because the people have been FED a lie for so long that they BELIEVE it !
    ~ . On 08-30-2008 I wrecked my motorbike killing me 3 times in life flight & putting me into an 87 day coma, waking with a 5.5 brain injury. That required me to go through rehabs relearning life. Once returning home, with next to no memory of my life, I had a friend ask me to get a medical card & try CANNABIS. I was amazed because not only did my memories start returning, but my THOUGHT PROCESS started working again. That made me research why. It is the blood that THC delivers with every HEAD RUSH
    Through “meditation” I have learned why I returned from the dead., It is to do HIS will & I do not try to tell others because they will not understand & want to call me a FAKE !

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