Campus Reform | Monument commemorating 'spirit of the pioneers' removed from Oklahoma college

Monument commemorating 'spirit of the pioneers' removed from Oklahoma college

A controversial monument at Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) was removed this week.

The monument, which depicts the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889 and features settlers racing to stake land claims, has faced significant backlash.

A monument at Oklahoma City Community College depicting the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889 has been removed.

The monument, which features settlers racing to stake land claims with the phrase "may the spirit of the pioneers always be with us", faced significant backlash, according to The Oklahoman. Complaints came through social media and letters to the editor of the student-run paper, The Pioneer.

According to OCCC Executive Vice President Danita Rose, removing the monument was a top priority for school leadership, calling the move a “no-brainer.”

[RELATED: Prof offers advice on how to destroy monuments 'faster']

“If our goal is to create a community that is inclusive and welcoming to everyone, a monument that depicts cruelty and oppression can’t be on display here,” Rose told The Oklahoman. 

According to OCCC interim President Jeremy Thomas, the administration has “always agreed” with those who felt the monument was “offensive” and had “no place on our campus.”

“It does not accurately represent history, and it does not accurately reflect the respect, empathy and admiration we have for the true pioneers of this land: the indigenous people of this country,” Thomas told The Oklahoman. “As soon as we were in a position to take it down, we did.”

[RELATED: MAP: Colleges coast to coast give confederate monuments, historical symbols the boot]

The statue is now in storage.

"Education done right embraces a variety of views and understands there are seldom black or white choices – especially when examining history," OCCC Executive Creative Director Erick Worrell told Campus Reform. "We’re committed to listening, learning, and helping bring diverse viewpoints together. In that way, we hope to enlighten a better future together."

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @JezzamineWolk