Students and Faculty Call for Removal of 'Historic' Murals

Several students at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana, along with employees and alumni are calling for the removal of Christopher Columbus murals.

(Photo: Twitter / @indystar)

NBC News affiliate WNDU reports that many are looking to remove the 19th century murals of Christopher Columbus from the university as they depict Native Americans and blacks in "stereotypical submissive poses before white European explorers."

More than 300 students, employees and alumni signed an open letter against the paintings that were published in the university's student newspaper, The Observer. The open letter states that the artwork found in an administrative building are equivalent to those of the Confederate monuments.

"(The paintings are) greeting millions of campus residents and visitors with a highly problematic vision of Western triumphalism, Catholic militarism and an overly romantic notion of American expansion," the letter states.

In 1995, a group of Native American students expressed the exact same sentiments when they called for the removal of the paintings, but no action was taken.

While a Notre Dame spokesperson, Dennis Brown told the Indy Star that the paintings have "historic value," there are no immediate plans to remove them. He adds that the murals would be nearly impossible to remove because they are painted directly onto the wall.

"To try to remove them would in all likelihood destroy them," he said.


The 12 paintings by the 19th century Italian artist Luigi Gregori have been on display at the campus' Main Building since 1884.

Photo credit: Twitter/ @HeatherWSBT