Kalamazoo City Commission: Support History through Art & Free Speech in Bronson Park

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We, the undersigned, ask you to move forward with the Bronson Park Master Plan as approved, including the Iannelli Fountain’s restoration and education programming.

Iannelli’s Fountain documents two time periods.  The first, a period in our collective history that was clearly unjust.  The second, the period of its creation; a time when many European-Americans had no awareness of the crimes committed against Native People during westward expansion.

There have been calls to remove Alfonso Iannelli’s Fountain before, and in 2005, the City of Kalamazoo called for resolution.  It later agreed with the public’s recommendations for moving forward. Those recommendations -- to use this work of public art as a tool for broadening our collective understanding of our complete national history – are still valid.

From the beginning of this resolution process, the city and its volunteers have partnered with The Gun Lake Tribe / Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, the descendants of the people who owned this land before us. The Gun Lake Tribal Council has twice stated its support for the Bronson Park Master Plan, which includes the Fountain’s restoration and education.

Bronson Park has been a center of free speech for nearly 200 years. We call on you to honor our right to free speech through art by:

• providing understanding of our nation’s difficult history through the use of an important public work of art in context;

• restoring a nationally-significant work of art in our community, known world-wide for its enthusiastic arts support;

• continuing the reconciliation process begun in 2015 though the partnerships established with the Gun Lake Tribe and other citizens, through this nationally-significant work of public art.

References:

The Gun Lake Band Letter of Support dated 11-20-17 is found at the end of this MLive report:  http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2017/11/gun_lake_tribe_no_remove_fount.html

Iannelli Fountain National Register of Historic Places nomination

https://www.nps.gov/nr/feature/places/pdfs/16000417.pdf

The Bronson Park Master Plan

http://kzooparks.org/media/2016-Bronson-Park-Master-Plan-Report-no-OPC.pdf



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