Charlottesville removes Lewis and Clark statue featuring Sacagawea and Confederate statues


RYAN M. KELLY / AFP / Getty Images

The statue of Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and Sacagawea was removed from Charlottesville, Va. On July 10, 2021.


A statue of Lewis and Clark representing Sacagawea (also spelled Sacajawea), a famous Native American woman, was dismantled in Charlottesville, Virginia, making it the third statue to be dismantled in the city.

The statue depicted two white men – Meriwether Lewis and William Clark – and Sacagawea, who was depicted stalking, historians said. Those against the statue said Sacagawea appears to be curling up, according to tot Daily progress newspaper.

“It was a very offensive statue, and not only did it demarcate me as a Native American, but it demarcated our women and their role in society,” said Rose Abrahamson, a Native American woman, in a video obtained by WVIR-TV, subsidiary of CNN an emergency meeting of the Charlottesville City Council.

Police look at the statue of Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and Sacagawea removed from Charlottesville, Va. On July 10, 2021.

RYAN M. KELLY / AFP / Getty Images

Police look at the statue of Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and Sacagawea removed from Charlottesville, Va. On July 10, 2021.

The emergency meeting, held on Saturday, resulted in a unanimous vote to remove the statue, according to a tweet from the city. The statue was quickly removed after the removal of Confederate statues featuring Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson.

In the video of the statue’s removal, crowds cheer as the bronze sculpture is hoisted from the base and loaded onto a flatbed truck.

The idea of ​​creating the Lewis-Clark-Sacagawea statue began in 1912, when “eminent citizen appeals” led a University of Virginia donor to Paul Goodloe McIntire to finance the creation of the statue. Charles Keck sculpted the statue, which was donated to Charlottesville in 1919, according to the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Tourism Office.

Sacagawea served as interpreter and guide for Lewis and Clark, who were commissioned to explore the western part of the United States by then-President Thomas Jefferson, according to the National Museum of Women’s History. Sacagawea, with her baby and husband, traveled with a group of more than 30 men, the museum said.

“Sacagawea was valuable to the expedition because its presence signified peace and reliability,” the museum said. “A group of men traveling with a woman and her baby seemed less threatening than a group made up of all men, which could be mistaken for a game of war.”

The National Parks Service said Sacagawea is “one of the most represented Native American women in history” who has “more status than any other American woman.”

The removal of the statue comes more than a year after George Floyd’s death sparked international protests and reignited a national conversation about race, police brutality and social injustice. In the United States, the names of buildings and even some brands of food were changed, and many Confederate statues fell.

CNN’s Jason Hanna and Ralph Ellis contributed to this report.

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