Be on the Right Side of Pacifica's History: Remove the Statue of Colonizer Portola

Be on the Right Side of Pacifica's History: Remove the Statue of Colonizer Portola

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Danielle Redlin Gustavson started this petition to City of Pacifica and

We, the undersigned, are calling for the removal of the statue memorializing colonizer Gaspar de Portola. The highly visible statue is located in one of the most frequented public spaces in Pacifica, next to Highway 1, Linda Mar Beach and its Community Center.

Gaspar de Portola was not the hero that people were led to believe when his statue was first erected. He was a colonizer born of Catalonian nobility. He was commissioned by the Spanish Crown to create a route for the Spanish settlement in California. The intent was to remove Native Americans from their ancestral homelands. The route Portola is given credit for was established on pre-existing Native trails. He did not “discover” Pacifica, nor did he “discover” the San Francisco Bay. The San Francisco Bay region had been inhabited for thousands and thousands of years by Native Americans before the arrival of Portola. 

Pacifica was home to the Aramai, a distinct tribe among dozens of independent Ohlone tribes Native to the Bay Area. They inhabited Pacifica for over 3,000 years before Spanish colonies decimated their people, language, history and culture. 

Before the arrival of Portola and his fellow colonizers in 1769, California had an estimated population of over 300,000 Native coastal Indians. By the late 1800s, that population would diminish to less than 25,000. Within roughly one century, California Indians would lose their lives, religions, histories, cultures and languages.

In this way, Portola’s expedition marked the beginning of the end for Native people in California.

We believe that the colonialism, racism and patriarchy this statue represents has no place in the City of Pacifica, which for many of us, is also our beloved home.

We cannot move forward as long as we continue to idolize a past that celebrates the beginning of genocide. Statues are monuments to people who we honor, and as long as we choose to memorialize those who fought to remove Native Californians from their ancestral homes, we are telling Native people they are not valued in our communities.

We now have an opportunity and the responsibility to change that narrative to one that respects Native people, while also acknowledging the irreparable damage that has already been committed against them and their ancestors.

Their history is OUR California history.

In light of the hate crime committed against George Floyd, with this petition, we ask you, the City of the Pacifica, to remove the statue of Gaspar de Portola immediately. As long as the statue remains, it upholds and celebrates a toxic culture of domination and oppression of marginalized people. We ask you to be on the right side of history as we, the undersigned, know that Pacifica can and should do better for this generation and those to come.

 

The Association of Ramaytush Ohlone endorses this petition and the removal of statues of colonizers to learn more visit: http://www.ramaytush.com/remove-statues.html

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At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!