Fhyre Phoenix: Why we should remove the statue and how we’ll pay for it

Fhyre Phoenix. JD | Union

12 Reasons to Remove the Statue of McKinley from the Arcata Plaza 

1.    The Arcata Plaza is the site where Native people were sold into slavery by White men. Therefore, this site should not be used to honor a White man, whoever he may be, but rather to honor the people who suffered there.

2. The City of Arcata sits on land that was stolen from the Wiyot Tribe. The Wiyot Tribal Council has voted unanimously to have the statue removed.

3.  Pres. McKinley supported the Curtis Act of 1898, which stripped Native tribes of 90 million acres of land. The land was then allotted to White settlers. This was theft (and racism) on an unimaginable scale.

4. The statue is an affront to all Native people. Fifteen northern California, Native tribes have requested that the statue be removed.

5. Under McKinley’s leadership, the U.S. started the Spanish-American War. In the Philippines, brutal U.S. troops often killed prisoners. Concentration camps were set up. Filipinos found outside the camps were killed on sight. Torture by U.S. troops against Filipinos was widespread. On January 31, 1902, soon after McKinley’s death, the U.S. Senate Investigating Committee on the Philippines convened to hear testimony re crimes alleged to have been committed by U.S. troops. One key finding was: “That the destruction of Filipino life during the war has been so frightful that it cannot be explained as the result of ordinary, civilized warfare.”

6. Other findings of the investigative committee: “That from the beginning of the war the practice of burning native towns and villages and laying waste the country has continued.” And “That the Secretary of War never made any attempt to stop this barbarous practice while the war was in progress.”

7. Filipino historian E. San Juan, Jr. claims that 1.4 million Filipinos died during the war (about 15% of the entire population), which constitutes genocide.

8. The main historical lesson taught by keeping the statue on the Plaza is that our country (and Arcata) continues to honor White, racist men.

9. McKinley has no positive connection to our community. It’s time to go.

10. We should support the national movement of removing racist icons.

11. Removing the statue is a small, "first step" in healing Native communities.

12. Everyone deserves at least one do-over and removing the McKinley statue is Arcata’s chance to begin to be a better, more inclusive community.


This is the cost to remove the McKinley statue. It will cost about $50,000 for a required Environmental Impact Report and $15,000 for the actual removal.

I have pledged to raise these funds and I am asking for your help.

My project, The Art of Removing Art, is a DreamMaker project of The Ink People Center for the Arts. I plan to raise the funds to remove McKinley and then move beyond, to a larger goal.

The larger project is to visit many of the cities that have already removed racist statues, or are in the process of doing so, to interview people at each site who are or were involved in the process, then to write a book to help guide community activists and local officials from around the U.S. in the art of removing racist and otherwise offensive, public art.

Cash/credit donations may be made directly to The Ink People by calling 707-442-8413 or by going on-line at www.inkpeople.org    *Be sure to mention that the donation is for ‘The Art of Removing Art.’


I am also seeking donations of any large or valuable gifts that I can use to raise the funds for this project. Donations may include motor vehicles, artwork, collections of jewelry, coins, stamps, equipment, etc. Many people have items they received through inheritance, divorce, etc. that is taking up space in storage. Wouldn’t you like to put these things to good use? Donate it!

Please contact me and we can discuss what you have in mind. Thanks!

Fhyre Phoenix [email protected]



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