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Brown County receives complaint about Native American statue and mural at courthouse
Brown County receives complaint about Native American statue and mural at courthouse
Brown County receives complaint about Native American statue and mural at courthouse

Published on: 01/25/2023


GREEN BAY, Wis. (WLUK) -- Brown County is being asked to remove a statue and painting from the courthouse. At least one Native American says they are offensive.

The courthouse is on the National Registrar for Historic Places, which could play a role if the complaint is addressed.

The "Spirit of the Northwest" statue outside the Brown County Courthouse features Father Claude Allouez, French explorer Nicolas Perrot and an unnamed Native American. It commemorates exploration into the Green Bay region in 1668.

However, Mickey Lee Escamea believes it should be taken down.

In a letter to the county, the Oneida resident says, “The statue has a Native American with a busted feather on his head. As you know, this statue has been broken on the Native American head on more than one occasion as early as 1991. It has been repaired and destroyed by racist vandals and is a symbol of the busted Native American. We find this statue offensive and racist in nature. We are proud thriving people. We are not busted.”

“I've been on the (county) board 16 years now, and this is kind of the first time this has come up with the exception of last month,” said Norb Dantinne, a Brown County supervisor. “There was talk about the Native American portion of the statue that the feather was missing on the top. I guess we'll be addressing that.”

Dantinne says the county will likely be addressing it by putting the statue back how it used to be with the feather intact.

Escamea's complaint to the county also addresses a Jean Nicolet mural inside the courthouse.

“Also, the painting of Jean Nicolet on the east end of the court house is a great example of early terrorism,” writes Escamea. “The depiction of Jean Nicolet firing pistols in the air as Native Americans lay on the ground and display their hands in the air is despicable. Please have some class and remove this also.”

FOX 11 has reached out to the Brown County Historical Society about the requests and plans to follow up on this story when we can get the group's perspective.

Brown County Facilities Director Chad Magnin says the historical society's input will be of value.

“In my mind, this is a Brown County decision first by what do we want to do with it and then whatever that might look like, just put that up against what the society says and take any action from there,” said Magnin.

The issue was on a committee agenda Tuesday evening with potential for action, but the committee did not discuss it. FOX 11 is told at least one county board member has expressed a desire to look into this issue further, which means the issue could be brought up at the next meeting of the full county board.

Author : Ben Krumholz, FOX 11 News

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