University Moves Statue Some Call Anti-Native American

May 28, 2015

Saint Louis University has moved a statue, “Where the Rivers Meet,” that for decades has stood in front of a building that is now a dormitory. The sculpture depicts a 19th-century Jesuit missionary, the Reverend Pierre-Jean DeSmet, with two Native Americans. The pose has been criticized for suggesting that Native Americans welcomed Europeans' efforts to convert them and take their land. During the post-Ferguson protests on campus, which attracted many from off the campus, some noticed and criticized the statue (see image at right).

Clayton Berry, a spokesperson for the university, said via email: “Some students and faculty raised concerns about the statue in that location. The decision was made to relocate the statue to the Saint Louis University Museum of Art, where it will be added to and housed with the Collection of the Western Jesuit Missions. Taking up an entire floor of the museum, this collection features artwork and historical artifacts that illustrate the frontier experience of various Jesuit missionaries, including Father DeSmet, in the 1800s.”

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