Tomahawk, fake blood placed on Fountain of the Pioneers in Bronson Park

The Fountain of the Pioneers in Kalamazoo's Bronson Park has been a point of controversy regarding monuments to oppressive actions in history. (Courtesy of the state of Michigan)

A tomahawk was added to the Fountain of the Pioneers in Bronson Park, with the addition of red paint dripping down the side.

The Southwest Michigan DSA, an organizing committee of the Democratic Socialists of America for the region, distributed a picture of the tomahawk on Twitter this morning.

City crews were out this morning cleaning up the paint. The motive and who did it are both unclear at this time. The tomahawk was made with cardboard.

The vandalism was discovered early this morning when staff from the city's Department of Parks and Recreation arrived at the park to set up for tonight's Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

The fountain's future has sparked controversy in Kalamazoo, forcing a hold on fundraising efforts toward its restoration.

Those who want the fountain restored say it has value in its representation of history; those calling for its removal say the fountain symbolizes and promotes oppression of indigenous peoples.

It is a long-term debate that has been rekindled as Kalamazoo looks to invest more than $2 million in Bronson Park renovations, with roughly half dedicated to restoring the fountain.

At a recent Kalamazoo City Council meeting, the deputy city manager explained some of the difficulties in removing the fountain, which include the cost of taking it down and finding a location to store it. However, some remain adamant the fountain belongs in a museum.

Some of those against the fountain said if it can't be removed, there should at least be more information displayed on plaques nearby about Native American history in West Michigan.

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