"Fountain of the Pioneers" statue covered by tarp in Kalamazoo's Bronson Park

A tarp was thrown over the Pioneer Statute in Bronson Park over night. (JAKE BERENT/WWMT)

The city of Kalamazoo said they did not install a tarp that covered the "Fountain of the Pioneers" statue overnight Monday.

The tarp appeared over the statue sometime Monday night, and remained on through Tuesday morning. When asked if they planned to remove the tarp, the City Manager's Office said they have no comment at this time.

This comes after the Kalamazoo City Commission voted unanimously Monday night to replace Columbus Day on its calendars with Indigenous People’s Day.

“We were looking for a more global reach, and therefore, I thought it would be consistent to recognize indigenous people's day,” said City Attorney Clyde Robinson.

Later in the meeting, several people spoke out in favor of removing the statue at the commission meeting. Delton resident Pat Lynn got up to the podium and said the statue is racist, and it depicts a white settler standing with a weapon over a submissive Native American.

“It is my belief that the statue belongs in a museum. Keeping the Ianelli statue that depicts white supremacy in Bronson Park, a public park would be a practice a violation of the UN Deeclaration of the rights of indigenous peoples,” Lynn.

At this time, it’s unclear who covered the statue. No group has publicly claimed responsibility for it.

The statue was built in 1940, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The city has received grants to repair and restore the statue over the last two years. Work on the statue is not expected to begin until 2018.

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