Tribe members, activists rally against controversial William Blackstone statue on Indigenous People’s Day
PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WLNE)- Since it was first built in August, the statue of William Blackstone on Exchange street has caused a lot of controversy among Rhode Island’s Narraganset Tribe, Black Lives Matter and other activist groups.
Members of those groups gathered on Indigenous Peoples Day for a rally demanding the state to be taken down.
Activists say Blackstone’s arrival in Rhode Island in the 1630s is tied to the beginning of widespread death among indigenous people…
Deaths that include the ancestors of current members of The Narraganset Tribe.
“I want to see it taken down, would we put up a monument of Hitler?”
Pawtucket city councilor Melissa Darosa was one of several speakers at today’s rally.
Darosa says the private developers who own the statue should have had conversations with those who represent indigenous groups before the statue was built.
ABC6 has contacted the owners but we have yet to hear back.
The city is not responsible for the removal of the statue but it does own the land around it.
Pawtucket is currently in the final phase of developing the surrounding area as part of their community development block grant funding.
An outside attorney will be examining that development, and the building process of the statue in the coming weeks to ensure transparency between the city and activist groups.