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DeKalb County to remove “Indian War” cannon from Decatur Square tonight


DeKalb County to remove “Indian War” cannon from Decatur Square tonight

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.

This story has been updated. 

Decatur, GA — The “Indian War” cannon on the Decatur Square is set to be taken down around 7 p.m. tonight, Oct. 19. The removal comes after a vote on Oct. 12 by the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners to relocate the relic cannon.

“This victory proves that the earth beneath has more power than the cannon,” Muscogee elder John Winterhawk said in a press release.

The resolution was introduced by Commissioner Ted Terry on Sept. 28 and was backed by Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson.

“It’s clear that this relic cannon is a wayward orphaned cannon that has no clear ownership,” Terry said at the Oct. 12 meeting. “It’s in the public right of way, so the effort of this resolution is to remove it within 90 days and hopefully the rightful owners will come forward. I appreciate all of the residents, constituents, and the city of Decatur for prompting us to take action on this.”

The cannon was placed in Decatur in 1906 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and memorializes the removal of Indigenous peoples following the Creek Indian War of 1836. The war was a consequence of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which President Andrew Jackson strongly supported, according to a report from the National Park Service. In 1821, Georgia forced the sale of half of the remaining Creek land, including the land that is now the city of Decatur, which was taken by white settlers in a land lottery.

The UDC also installed a confederate monument that was removed in 2020. The Decatur City Commission in December adopted a resolution in support of the cannon’s removal.

“Tonight, we recognize the removal of a weapon of war that was used against the Muscogee Nation as part of a genocidal process to clear the land and make way for the plantation economy that followed,” a press release from the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights states. “Both of these objects were placed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in their attempt to promote a white supremacist narrative for generations to come.”

This will be the second time in about two years a symbol of white supremacy has been removed from the Decatur Square, as the Confederate obelisk was removed on the eve of Juneteenth in 2020, according to the press release.

Beacon Hill’s Decolonize Decatur Committee has led an organizing campaign to raise awareness in the community about the meaning of the relic cannon. Using a petition, webinars, a teach-in, public comment, presenting resolutions passed by both the city of Decatur and DeKalb County, and holding a protest on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, they built a grassroots movement.

“We understand that colonization is an ongoing process today, and we place the Indigenous – African connection at the heart of our work,” said Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights and Decolonize Decatur Committee co-chair Fonta High. “With this victory, we remain committed to doing the persistent and dedicated work to decolonize our local community in every aspect.”

Decaturish reporters will be on the scene as the cannon is removed. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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