A Civil War memorial toppled by Black Lives Matter protesters in Colorado over the summer will be replaced by a sculpture of a Native American woman in mourning.
The new statue, approved by Denver representatives on Friday, will commemorate the 1864 Sand Creek massacre, where US Army soldiers attacked and destroyed a village of Cheyenne and Arapaho people in southeastern Colorado, CPR News reported.
The Capitol Building Advisory Committee voted 7-2 to approve the replacement monument after hearing from descendants of some of the hundreds of people, mostly women and children, killed at Sand Creek.
“They were wiped out,” Otto Braided Hair, of the Northern Cheyenne, told the committee. “Their voices are no longer heard. Their wishes and concerns were no longer heard. Those are the people we speak for.”
The former monument at the Capitol — torn down during the June 25 protest — had been erected in 1909 and was meant to honor Colorado soldiers who fought for the Union in the Civil War.
However, the memorial had included the name of the colonel who orchestrated the massacre, CBS4 reported. The statue is now housed at the History Colorado Center.
Artist Harvey Pratt, a Sand Creek descendant, was commissioned to create the statue by the organization One Earth Future — and said the idea for the piece came to him in a dream.
“It’s really about the women,” he said. “The women carry the men in the tribes on their backs.”
A seven-inch prototype of Pratt’s design has been completed, and the state legislature will vote on how large the finished work and its pedestal will be.
Describing the statue, Pratt said that the woman is “in mourning and she’s kneeling… She’s lost her baby and maybe her grandparents.”
“She’s not asking to be spared,” he added. “She’s saying ‘Remember us. don’t forget us. I’ve lost my whole family.’”