LONG BEACH, California. – California State University, Long Beach, are half a century old “Prospector Pete” statue away from a prominent place on campus because of the impact of the 1849 gold rush had on the aboriginal population.
A statement on the website of the university said the gold rush was “a time in history when the indigenous peoples of California to endure oppression, violence and threats of genocide.”
According to the university, the bronze statue is officially named “the Forty-Niner Man” evolved from the creation of the original college in 1949 and is the founder and President Pete Peterson references to “slammed the gold of the education.”
The statue, unveiled in 1967, shows a rough looking, bearded man sitting on a rock. It has no gold mining or panning tools.
In recent years, college athletics have moved away from the college of traditional “49er” and “Prospector Pete” sports team and mascot names in favor of the nickname ‘Beach’.
The university said that the statue is on a square with a pension to a campus space dedicated to alumni, but no further details were provided.
University President Jane Close Conoley announced the decision in an e-mail Thursday after more than a year of controversy over the question of whether the statute should be removed, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported .
The campus is about 20 miles (32 km) south of downtown Los Angeles was once the site of an ancient village of the indigenous Tongva people.
The newspaper said that the university’s Associated Students organization worked since September 2017, on a resolution to move the image.
The resolution , which passed in March, said that prior to the gold rush “the people of the Tongva Tribe were enslaved by colonists to build missions in the greater Los Angeles area” and were forced to assimilate.
It added that more than 80 percent “of the Native American population were killed in the twenty years after the gold rush as a result of malnutrition, slavery, murder, and manslaughter.”
In place of the statue, the resolution would be “a recognition of our shameful previous association with the gold diggers.” It was a plaque.
Earlier this month a statue of an American Indian at the feet of a Spanish cowboy and a missionary was removed from the city of San Francisco in the 1890s-era Pioneer Monument near City Hall.