Toppled statue of Spanish priest at California Capitol to be replaced by memorial to Native tribes

The long-standing statue of a Spanish priest on the grounds of the California State Capitol will be replaced with a monument memorializing Native Americans who lived in the Sacramento area before the arrival of white settlers.

Following the statue’s toppling in July 2020 amid the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill last Friday — coinciding with Native American Day — that will remove the statue of Father Junipero Serra which was installed in 1967.

The removal of the statue, as with similar efforts across the country, has been a lightning rod for controversy. Serra, a Spanish missionary, played a pivotal role in converting Native Americans to Roman Catholicism in the late 1700s, per the Los Angeles Times.

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