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(PHOTOS) Activists call for removal of ‘Indian War’ cannon during ‘Decolonize Decatur Day’ event

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(PHOTOS) Activists call for removal of ‘Indian War’ cannon during ‘Decolonize Decatur Day’ event

Fonta High, Co-Chair, Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights and Co-Chair, Decolonize Decatur Committee looks toward the ‘Indian War’ cannon as she speaks during a March 20 press conference calling for DeKalb County to remove the cannon from the Decatur Square. Photo by Dean Hesse.
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By Dean Hesse, contributor 

Decatur, GA — The Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights on Saturday, March 20, continued its call for DeKalb County to remove the ‘Indian War’ cannon from the Decatur Square during a “Decolonize Decatur Day’ press conference.

The cannon was put in place in 1906 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Fonta High, Co-Chair, Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights and Co-Chair, Decolonize Decatur Committee spoke along with student organizers from Decatur High School and local historians and clergy. 

“This land that we are standing on, it belonged to the Muskogee (Creek) Nation and we occupy this land unjustly and it’s a privilege for us to be on this land. This cannon from 1836 was used to drive off the Muskogee people from this land,” High said during the press conference. “Not only did it drive off the Muskogee (Creek) people, but genocide was committed against them. Many died on the Trail of Tears and the country and this county owes the group of people known as the Muskogee (Creek). Many kids can be seen playing on this cannon which seems harmless, but this cannon is a weapon of war and it symbolized white supremacy.” 

In December, the Decatur City Commission unanimously adopted a resolution presented to them by Decatur High School students calling for the cannon’s removal and on Jan. 26 DeKalb County Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution to create a memorial to the late civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis to replace the Confederate monument on the Decatur Square that came down June 18, 2020.

High said, “Progress has happened. We were able to remove the Lost Cause Confederate monument the eve of Juneteenth last year, but progress needs to continue to move forward. What’s problematic for us at Beacon Hill is that this cannon is in direct contradiction to what John Lewis stood for and they both can’t stand on the same land in the same proximity of one another. Before that gets erected this cannon needs to go.

“You can’t compromise with white supremacy and this idea of us trying to be neutral. I think there’s no neutrality. When you remain neutral you don’t make a choice. People end up dying. You have to confront white supremacy head on.”

High asked people to email DeKalb Commissioners on March 23 between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. and in a page or less demand removal of the genocide cannon.

Rev. Karen Bryant Shipp, Minister of Music at Oakhurst Baptist Church, reads a statement presented to the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners by Decatur clergy insisting the cannon commemorating the Indian War of 1836 be removed from the Decatur Square. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Student organizer Bethani Thomas reads the words of Muskogee elder John Winterhawk during a Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights “Decolonize Decatur Day” press conference on March 20, calling for DeKalb County to remove the “Indian War” cannon from the Decatur Square. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Student organizers Bethani Thomas (l) and Genesis Reddicks look on as Fonta High, Co-Chair, Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights and Co-Chair, Decolonize Decatur Committee speaks during a March 20 press conference calling for DeKalb County to remove the “Indian War” cannon from the Decatur Square. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Student organizers Genesis Reddicks and Koan Roy-Meighoo hold a sign before a March 20 Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights “Decolonize Decatur Day” press conference calling for DeKalb County to remove the “Indian War” cannon from the Decatur Square. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Student organizer Koan Roy-Meighoo speaks during the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights “Decolonize Decatur Day” press conference on March 20, 2021. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Student organizer Julian Fortuna speaks during the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights “Decolonize Decatur Day” press conference on March 20, 2021. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights held a “Decolonize Decatur Day” press conference on March 20 calling for DeKalb County to remove the “Indian War” cannon from the Decatur Square. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Student organizer Bethani Thomas reads the words of Muskogee elder John Winterhawk during a Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights “Decolonize Decatur Day” press conference on March 20, calling for DeKalb County to remove the ‘Indian War’ cannon from the Decatur Square. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Student organizers from left to right, Bethani Thomas, Genesis Reddicks, Koan Roy-Meighoo and Julian Fortuna hold a sign highlighting the late Congressman John Lewis’ support of Native rights as they stand next to the “Indian War” cannon after a March 20 Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights “Decolonize Decatur Day” press conference calling for DeKalb County to remove the cannon from the Decatur Square. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights held a “Decolonize Decatur Day” press conference March 20, calling for DeKalb County to remove the “Indian War” cannon from the Decatur Square. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Fonta High, Co-Chair, Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights and Co-Chair, Decolonize Decatur Committee, stands where a memorial to the late Congressman John Lewis will replace a Confederate monument that stood for over a century before being taken down June 18, 2020. Photo by Dean Hesse.

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