My name is Brendan Chanthavong and I am a Patrick Henry High School student. We have been studying the arrival of Europeans in the Americas in our U.S. History class.  I am  aware that there is a statue of Christopher Columbus on the state capitol grounds and  I  believe  this  statue  should  be  removed. This issue is important to me — the indigenous people were brutally kidnapped, maimed and sold as prisoners.

Here are some specific facts from our class activities and my own research to support the need for removing the statue of Christopher Columbus on our state capitol grounds.

Christians took over the land of the indigenous people, taking them as slaves, prisoners, and selling them off as objects. The torture continued on as the indigenous people were treated as if they weren’t humans. Bartholome’ De Las Casas gave evidence that Columbus kidnapped, maimed and killed the indigenous people. Columbus and his men did not spare anybody, no matter if they were children or pregnant.

Columbus and his men then went from island to island in the Caribbean, capturing and killing the indigenous people. The indigenous people who did not give up gold had their hands cut off and bled to death. Natives were just subjects, while Columbus and his men declared their land. Columbus then regrouped with his men and sailed away with indigenous people as prisoners.

I believe that my voice matters, particularly in issues of who we choose to honor in our nation’s history. For these reasons, I would like to see Minnesotans come together and remove the Columbus memorial on the state capitol grounds.

Gunxang Brendan Chanthavong