Notre Dame Students Request Removal of Columbus Murals

More than 340 members of the Notre Dame community, including students and employees, have signed a letter sent to the university’s president, Rev. John Jenkins, requesting that murals depicting Christopher Columbus be removed from the admissions building. The twelve murals have been on display since 1884 and contain images of Columbus’s journey and European discovery of the Americas. The murals also depict Native Americans and African Americans. The letter argues that, “[To] any student, staff, faculty or guest who identifies with a historically oppressed group, the presence of the murals in 21st century America mocks every attempt to make campus more inclusive, more diverse and more culturally sensitive.” Those who have signed the letter are disgusted that Notre Dame condones the murals despite previous efforts to have the exhibit removed. One student of Cherokee descent, Armani Porter, explains his stance: “When I look at these photos I can see quite clearly where I would have fit into the picture.” The letter demands that the murals are not only offensive to those of Native American descent, but to all oppressed peoples. The letter goes on to relate the murals to confederate symbols: “In this era of political divisiveness and a renewed rise of dangerous nationalism, it is time for Notre Dame to remove its own version of a Confederate monument.”

Because of previous protests, pamphlets explaining the purpose of the murals have been placed alongside them. The pamphlets note that the depiction of Native Americans is “troubling,” and also explain the significance of the murals to the Notre Dame community, “Yet, these murals also exist as cultural artifacts that speak to the past hopes of European Catholic immigrants who wanted to carve out a niche in an often hostile society.” The letter to the president responds to this claim by identifying the images as “Catholic militarism, and an overly romantic notion of American expansion.”

University spokesman, Dennis Brown, has reported that the university does not intend to take down the murals but will look into “permanent or prominent signage” that would explain the context of the murals more clearly. In a time of strict political correctness, it seems as though the university will not budge on the issue of Christopher Columbus, but does concede a more balanced approach to a sensitive topic.

  • DonHonda

    DAVE NEESE: Cleaning up our historical act

    “We must seize this opportunity to indulge ourselves in smug moral righteousness, in “virtue-signaling,” as it has come to be named. “

  • DonHonda

    Apparently, “native americans” were not the first “indigenous” people here in North America. Evidence is mounting that they pushed out a previous population of European-centric origin:

    The Smithsonian Magazine:
    The Very First Americans May Have Had European Roots
    Some early Americans came not from Asia, it seems, but by way of Europe

    The Washington Post:
    Radical theory of first Americans places Stone Age Europeans in Delmarva 20,000 years ago

    The National Geographic:
    Controversy erupted after skeletal remains were found in Kennewick, Washington, in 1996. This skeleton, estimated to be 9,000 years old, had a long cranium and narrow face—features typical of people from Europe, the Near East or India—rather than the wide cheekbones and rounder skull of an American Indian.
    Ancient DNA reveals that the ancestors of modern-day Native Americans had European roots. The discovery sheds new light on European prehistory and also solves old mysteries concerning the colonisation of America.

    • Edohiguma

      Of course they were not the first. Tribes like the Cherokee or the Sioux didn’t exist a mere 2,000 years ago either.

  • michguy311

    More than 340, so what… 1% of the total University population? In the past such a request would be denied or ignored. Now days the administration will probably wet themselves in a mad rush to remove the murals.

    Maybe these snowflakes should take the opportunity to learn something about the past. Take the time to understand how people thought a hundred and 130 years ago and grow from the experience. That’s what you are in college for isn’t it? Or are you there to wrap yourself in the bubble wrap of groupthink and shut down whenever you are challenged by something outside your narrow line of thought? It’s truly sad.

  • Conservative gay male

    A big thank you to the administration of The University of Norte Dame! The preservation of history is the most important things that we, as living, breathing, mostly intelligent, human beings can do. It is history, it is fact, and it cannot be changed; be it good, bad or ugly. This university is a place of higher learning and a place where some of our brightest young people attended. Let’s not “whitewash” what makes us who we are; embrace it; learn from it; and not make the same mistakes that have been made in the past. Different cultures, different countries, different religions are nothing more than a collective of individuals. Give me the name of one individual who throughout their life has not done something they are embarrassed or ashamed of; I thing we have all been there. Understanding where we have been and the progress we have made is integral in learning and moving forward. Thank you again to the decision makers at The University of Norte Dame for protecting all of our history. You have shown more courage than most, if not all, other universities who cave to the whims of any request of a few. Go Irish!

  • andrewwhitehead

    How does America move into the future and defend our interests when the children become so upset on the mere sight of a statue or mural?

    How will the nation survive when a foreign enemy makes our children cry by saying ‘mean’ things about us? Will the future army be paralyzed by an unkind tweet from an adversary?

    • Jeffjr04

      They’ll be overrun by people who mean business.

  • James Losch

    wait til they get to Rockne’s painting.

  • Jeffjr04

    We don’t need to be “culturally inclusive”. We aren’t Mexico, we are not China, we are not South Africa, and we are not Europe. We are the United States of America. We have our own culture. If you want to be immersed in a differing culture then move to that place. It is really not that complicated. No amount of mincing words will change that reality. Every nation on the planet has its own culture. You don’t hear about the Japanese wanting to be more Chinese.

  • Jeffjr04

    If we all mix cultures then it will be one homogeneous culture. Then how do we decide what to celebrate?

  • PW Shields

    The “fragile Irish”, no longer the “fighting Irish”.