DECATUR, Georgia – Local to the DeKalb County area, a group is advocating for Muscogee artists to step forward with their artwork to replace the removed 1836 “Indian War” cannon.
In the city of Decatur, the town square once displayed the monument of the weapon used to drive the Muscogee people out of their homelands.
A local activist group called Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights developed the Decolonize Decatur Committee specific to advocating for the cannon’s removal.
“The forced removal of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation was one of the darkest chapters in the long history of white supremacy and settler colonialism that imbues every aspect of American History,” the alliance groups said in a letter to the Dekalb County Commission.
After months of peaceful protesting and joining forces with the community and even students of the local high school, the cannon was removed but now leaves an empty spot waiting for Muscogee representation.
Chairperson of the Alliance Fonta High, claimed this initiative started in 2017 with a different monument in close proximity to the cannon.
The “Lost Cause” monument uplifted confederate soldiers that enabled and supported slavery of African Americans.
African Americans were brought to the Georgia area unwillingly to be enslaved after the Muscogee people were pushed out of their homes and down the Trail of Tears 200 years ago, according to the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights website.
On the evening of Juneteenth 2020, the “Lost Cause” monument was taken down and then just a year and 3 months later, the cannon followed down with it.
Paul McLennan, member of the Decolonize Decatur Committee said the cannon suggested genocide among the native peoples.
The two statues were located centrally in downtown Decatur in the “square” right by the former courthouse, library and other regularly visited municipalities.
“We know that statues are intentionally placed in that kind of place which people are going to see them in large numbers,” High said.
The committee is looking for a Muscogee Artist or even other recognized tribal citizens to help create the next Art for the People installation.
Contact Fonta High at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you so much for this story! As we continue our search for an Indigenous artist, we hope we can build a bridge between our local Decatur, GA community and the Muscogee Nation in Oklahoma. We have so much to learn as we do this critical work of decolonization.