2018: Kalamazoo Votes to Remove Controversial Bronson Park Fountain

March 6, 2022 all-day

After more than 5 hours of discussion, at 1 a.m. on Tuesday morning, March 6, 2108, the Kalamazoo City Commission voted 5-1  to relocate the Fountain of the Pioneers from its most-prized park and develop a plan for putting something new in its place. It was the culmination of recent activism — though public debate has persisted since the monument was established.

The controversial monument pits a Native American in headdress head-to-head with a westward-facing settler. This charged imagery sustained a long debate about what Alfonso Iannelli intended to convey since the fountain was finished in 1940.

Some felt the monument celebrates the violent removal of indigenous peoples from Kalamazoo, making the park a hostile and unwelcoming place. It’s symbolic of the survival of white supremacist ideology, members of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians said.

Existing symbols of forced removal cause daily pain to indigenous people, said Seth Allard. The veteran is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, and is also known as “Man Who Walks The Red Road.”

For the full article, see Malachi Barrett, “Kalamazoo votes to remove controversial Bronson Park fountain“, MLive, March 6, 2018.

Malachi Barrett, “Controversial Bronson Park fountain recommended for removal“, MLive, March 1, 2018.

Malachi Barrett, “Should it stay? 26 opinions on Kalamazoo’s controversial fountain“, MLive, November 21, 2017.

Malachi Barrett, “Public debates meaning of fountain in Kalamazoo’s Bronson Park”, MLive, November 20, 2017.

Background and Status Report : Fountain of the Pioneers Bronson Park Master Plan (Bronson Park 21st Century Capital Campaign), November 20, 2017.

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