As the campaign to remove Confederate monuments continues throughout the country, the San Francisco Arts Commission voted this week to consider eliminating a controversial statue within the Civic Center's Pioneer Monument.
In a meeting Monday, the Arts Commission voted unanimously to initiate the review process that would lead to the removal of the "Early Days" statue. It currently stands in the northeast side of the Pioneer Monument.
"Early Days," a bronze statue that depicts a vaquero and a Catholic missionary imposed upon a Native American, was originally designed by sculptor Frank Happersberger as a posthumous gift from city tycoon James Lick. It was completed in 1897.
Since its installation, the Native community in San Francisco has critiqued the statue for its anachronistic, troubling portrayal of the Ohlone people -- the Native tribe indigenous to San Francisco and the larger Bay Area.
In 1991, activists demanded the removal of the statue, which was set to be shifted to open up space for a renovated Main Library building. The demands were met with a compromise: a plaque that addressed the subjugation of Native people by Spanish missionaries and settlers.