Protesters tear down statues of hate

Protesters bring down Pioneer, Pioneer Mother

On Saturday evening, protesters brought down the Pioneer and Pioneer Mother statues that resided near the middle of the University of Oregon Campus. The BIPOC Liberation Collective held a teach-in directly before on campus, however this action was executed by an independent group of activists.

These statues caused a lot of ire for many members of the campus community, particularly the Pioneer statue. An anonymous person spray painted parts of the statue red in the spring of last year. The Native American Student Union (NASU) protested the statue the following month. The protest took place on the statues 100 Anniversary, and NASU noted that the statue “glorifies white supremacy and settler-colonial violence against people of color, especially Native people.”

During the dedication of the statue in 2019, the President of the Oregon Historical Society lauded “the Anglo-Saxon race,” saying it “ has large powers of assimilation, and its great ideas of liberty and of the rights of mankind caused other races to become a part of it, so it became a people as well as a race.”

Alexander Phimister Proctor, who designed the Pioneer and Pioneer Mother, was also a sculptor for a Robert E. Lee statue that resided in Dallas and a statue of John McLoughlin, an early settler of the Oregon territory. The city of Dallas removed the Robert E. Lee statue in 2017 and later sold it in auction to a local law firm for $1.4M.

President Schill said on Monday that neither the Pioneer or Pioneer Mother would return to where they previously stood.

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