Efforts In Place to Replace a Cherokee Indian on Cherokee Street in St Louis

Efforts In Place to Replace a Cherokee Indian on Cherokee Street in St Louis

The “Cherokee Indian” sat at the corner of Jefferson and Cherokee in St. Louis, MO since it was commissioned in 1985.  It grew to be both a symbol of the neighborhood and area as well as a marker for directions for St. Louisans and tourists alike. That is until a group of “progressives”, decided to have it removed.  Behind the move are a led by a property magnate, not from the area, and a comic book owner, also not from the area.  The store owner, intent on moving his store into the space behind the statue,  called a rush meeting to have it removed while feeding the press stories that the community supported its removal – something far from the truth.

The “Cherokee Indian” was commissioned in 1985 by the Cherokee Station Business Association and was designed and constructed by Bill Christenson. The statue was built to represent the Cherokee people and the street at a time when the area was rebuilding itself after the decline it saw in the 70s and early 80s as a result of the opening of the South County Mall. It was admittedly historically inaccurate as the Cherokee Nation did not wear the clothes or headdresses as depicted in the statue. Regardless of this inaccuracy, the statue became a symbol of pride and a recognizable landmark in the area that locals and St. Louisans grew to know and love.

Following on the heels of the act of presentism in statue removals all over the country, including St. Louis’ own attack on its Apotheosis of St. Louis, two individuals conspired to remove the statue quickly and without time for public feedback.  Unconcerned those local residents and business owners opinions on the matter, two white men claimed to be offended by it for the Cherokee people and quickly called a meeting of the Cherokee Improvement District (CID).  The Cherokee CID voted to remove the statue and it was taken down that evening, September 16th, 2021 and moved across the river on a flatbed trailer in the morning of the 17th to the National Building Arts Center in Sauget, IL.

Many in the neighborhood were unaware of the meeting and were later surprised and angered to hear it was taken down. “Progressive” bullying and “Democracy” in action, all standard operating procedures. No Cherokee Natives were consulted, of course – only white businessmen who benefited from its removal. A series of news articles supporting the opinion of the statue removers were run to intimate that there was overwhelming support for its removal. There was not.

That was not the end of the story. Many residents continued to lament not only the statue’s removal but how it was done and with no replacement planned by the community “leaders”.

After determining that nothing could be done to recover the statue, local residents decided to focus on having a new one built – this time one that was historically accurate. Eddie Morrison, a Cherokee National Treasurer sculptor, and arguably the best Cherokee sculptor in the world, was contacted.

The leader of the project, Andy Polacek, still had to find a place for the statue while facing the cabal-like nature of the politics of the City of St. Louis where corrupt leftists stick together against any true progress.  Polacek knew that a private property owner would be the best option. Jode Pate, owner of Cherokee Residential Care, agreed to allow the statue to be placed on her property in an empty lot at the corner of Cherokee and Missouri. Mr. Polacek formed a charity with the State of Missouri and sought and received tax exempt status from the Internal Revenue Status. Mr. Polacek has obtained a local structural engineer to assist in the statue’s deployment and many other plans have been laid for its unveiling.

Mr. Polacek says of the effort,

It’s exciting to think that soon this original piece of Cherokee Native American art designed and constructed by a Cherokee National Treasure will be at the corner of Cherokee and Missouri and visible from my house. I can’t help but think that my great grandma, Opal Flora, who owned the house before me would be thrilled by this as she had a deep love and fascination for Native Americans. I hope this helps bring locals and tourists who frequent the local businesses while honoring the Cherokee Nation and people that our beloved street is named for.”

The total estimated cost of the project is $25,750, with $5,200 being donated to-date, thanks in part to material contributions by local business owners. Other business owners are working on fundraising efforts with Mr. Polacek as well. When the full amount is raised, a date will be set for the statue’s unveiling and many local Cherokee, including Mr. Polacek’s cousin, will be invited along with the general public for the new Cherokee Statue Unveiling.

How many more statues must be taken down and while history is erased before we are living in a bland communist country with no sense of character or culture? Standing up to this behavior and fighting back is a symbolic gesture in and of itself. No more bullying and no more decisions on our historical monuments by small groups of “progressive” tyrants. 

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Author: Joe Hoft