The No on Measure M rally began at the Humboldt State University UC quad and lead it’s way to the Arcata Plaza on Oct. 8. | Photo by Stella Stokes

A chance to correct history

No on Measure M is more than just opposing a statue

No on Measure M is more than just opposing a statue

Erik Rydberg and his family have dealt with former President William Mckinley for longer than most of the Arcata community. Ryberg’s great-great grandfather was Chamoru, the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands and Guam.

Mckinley led the United States into the Spanish American war. The Navy took over the Philippines and set their sights on Guam. That’s when Ryberg’s great-great grandfather was sent on a Filipino fishing vessel to the U.S by his family.

Rydberg said he feels his connection to Mckinley is deep, unlike those who admire the statue. Rydberg’s said he feels resentment toward the “little known” former U.S. president.

“He represents the abolishment of the tribal governments, courts and land rights of many Indigenous tribes here in the United States, Guam and Puerto Rico,” Rydberg said.

Rydberg, and about 50 community members, gathered on Oct. 8 for Indigenous Peoples Day. They marched to Arcata plaza to support the removal of William Mckinley’s Statue and encourage others to vote no on Measure M.

Rydberg said he is focused on showing the significance of this statue’s history. Many don’t know the history of Mckinley, let alone George Zinder — the man who lobbied for the construction of the statue.

“This statue was put here by George Zinder, a man who owned a seven-year-old child,” Ryberg said. “This statue was put here by a child slave owner.”

Erik Rydberg leading a group of community members in front of the statue of William McKinley in the Arcata Plaza on Oct. 8. | Photo by Stella Stokes

This statue’s history is one that many don’t see resolved today. Julio Torres, a Humboldt State University graduate and activist musician, said this feeling resonates with people who are historically affected by these cultural and physical genocides.

“This is like being stabbed in the back, and then having the blade be pulled only halfway out,” Torres said. “It doesn’t allow for healing in the present.”

The statue is only one of the monuments to genocide that Rydberg wants to take on. Rydberg said many of the local community names are hurtful to those affected by atrocities committed by the U.S. government and citizens.

“First, it starts with names of towns and such, like Mckinleyville, Samoa and Manila,” he said. “Which were named after the colonization of Samoa and the Philippines.”

Sarah Torres, a local Filipino activist and musician, said she feels that people who support keeping the statue feel nostalgic.

“I think the misrepresentation of history, allows for nostalgia to thrive,” Torres said.

Rydberg said he wants people to understand this is not an attempt to erase history — it’s an attempt to correct it.

“If you want to talk about erasing history every town, waterway, mountain, every native name for everything in this country has been erased,” Rydberg said. “This is about returning history and honoring the first nations of this continent.”













Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on reddit

More Stories

Photo by Abraham Navarro | Cowboy Daddy's Drummer and Keyboard player Conner West, 25, and guitarist Skye Freitas, 24, jam out at the Gutswurrak Student Activity Center on April 28.

Local bands rock the Gutswurrak

by Ione Dellos Band members wait in front of the bathrooms, eyes anxiously fluttering from the stage to the growing audience in the Gutswurrak Student Activities Center. After the deepest sigh one could possibly take, they make their way to

Travis Allen pole vaults at the Green and Gold Track Event on Feb. 12 Photo by Morgan Hancock.

Athlete’s outperform at decathlon

by Carlos Pedraza The Cal Poly Humboldt Track and Field team participated in the Stanislaus State Multi-Event from Thursday April 7 to Saturday April 9. The team participated in over 10 different events, all of which were multi-day involving different

Photo by Morgan Hancock | Izzy Star hits a home run in final softball game of the season at the Bear River Recreation Center in Loleta, California on Saturday, April 30.

Cal Poly Humboldt plays its last softball game of the series

by Eddie Carpenter On April 30, Cal Poly Humboldt Softball played the last two games of their series against Cal State San Marcos. Due to weather conditions, the softball games had to be relocated to the Bear River Recreation Center

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply