Lawmakers seek history update on Capitol’s Columbus statue

What’s wrong with this statue?

Apparently, it’s this:

Christopher Columbus was not the discoverer of America, we now know despite what many of us were taught in school.

So a group of legislators at the Capitol, led by Rep. John Percell, DFL-Bemidji, has filed a bill (HF 1727) to re-engrave the monument.

The bill reads:

The commissioner of administration in consultation with the Capitol Area Architectural and Planning Board shall have the original engraving on the statue of Christopher Columbus on the Capitol mall changed to read “Christopher Columbus Landed in America.”

“It’s something that’s been on my mind for a long time,” Rep. Persell said in a news release this afternoon. “There are so many school kids that come here to learn about their state, and I want to make sure that we’re factually representing our own heritage and history through the monuments and memorials they find here. My bill would change the words ‘Discovered America’ to ‘Landed in America’, because that’s what happened. I’m certain Mr. Columbus was a brave and interesting explorer, but he didn’t discover America, he arrived. The Native American folks I have spoken with around the communities I represent and across the state agree that ‘landed’ is more historically accurate.”

The statue was erected by the Columbus Memorial Association of St. Paul, which was created in 1929 “to maintain, perpetuate, and, if necessary, defend the historical accomplishments of Christopher Columbus, Discoverer of America.”

Two years later, the statue was built, with Gov. Floyd B. Olson doing the honors.

Minnesota Historical Society.

One Republican signed on to the bill. Rep. Dean Urdahl was a history teacher in the New London-Spicer School District for 35 years.

For the record, Columbus Day is still a legal Minnesota holiday.

(h/t: Brian Bakst, Associated Press)