Resilient Indigenous Action Collective says Columbus statue removal is a ‘relief’

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Resilient Indigenous Action Collective is just one of the groups that have been in constant support of the Christopher Columbus statue removal in Syracuse.

Even though the collective was not officially a part of the city’s action group, the members hope to move the conversation forward on both sides of the table.

Danielle Smith and Hayley Marama Covino are both organizers of the Resilient Indigenous Action Collective. For them, hearing the long-awaited news from Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh the Columbus statue in Syracuse is being removed was a huge sigh of relief.

When I got that email, I was shocked. I was obviously very excited.

Danielle Smith — Organizer of RIAC

“For me, it was a pause to really think about everybody that has gone before us. You know, like this is not about us. It’s actually about this long genealogy of organizing, resistance and actually pain and trauma,” explained Covino.

The Resilient Indigenous Action Collective is a group of indigenous people from across the globe.

Their work revolves around liberation, cultivating decolonial spaces and efforts to ensure all indigenous people experience sovereignty.

Both Smith and Covino agree the decision to remove the Columbus statue wouldn’t have been possible without the work of those who have gone before them.

Finally hearing and knowing that action is going to be taken that’s going to benefit a lot of people, not only indigenous people, black, brown, all people of color, because the statue, the underlying issue is the doctrine of discovery, and that is what really impacts a lot of different people and where this oppression comes from.

Danielle Smith, — Organizer of Resilient Indigenous Action Collective

“We express our thanks to Mayor Walsh and to all of the people that were involved over, especially these last few months and gave the time to be in conversation,” Covino said.

Members of the Columbus Monument Corporation said the following statement:

The annual wreath-laying ceremony at Columbus Circle on Monday, Oct. 12 at 11 a.m. is still scheduled.

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