People around the world recognize their country’s colonial history in many different ways. In the United States, many colonizers are commemorated through statues, and many buildings and towns bearing their names.
Throughout Sacramento, the name of John Sutter can be found nearly everywhere. From Sutterville Road to Sutter Middle School to Sutter Health Center, all surrounding the site of Sutter’s Fort in Midtown.
The statue of John Sutter in front of the medical center of the same name had been the subject of many protests. The statue was splashed with red paint on the night of June 8 and was removed entirely on the 15th.
Sacramento resident, June Robbins explained, “I think it’s great that they’re being removed. I think that we should shift to like honoring people who have made positive contributions to the communities we live in and not just honor people because they’re a part of our history”.
Another memorial in Sacramento that has been a subject of many direct actions, is also being removed. An announcement was made on the 9th that the statue of Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella in the Capitol building is to be removed.
Lots of work is being done, in Sacramento and around the country to reevaluate the ways we can understand and learn history, without memorializing and honoring the horrible aspects of the country’s history. While progress is being made, there is still much more work that can be done.
There are still many places in the Sacramento area that bear the name of John Sutter and many community members are continuing to work to ensure that the places important to Sacramentans reflect the values of the communities they serve.
Robbins continued, “My mom is campaigning to change the name of Sutter middle school and she’s had a lot of public support, which is good but the biggest thing she’s come up against is people saying it’s forgetting history. We aren’t forgetting history, we’re making conscious choices about who we want as role models and hero’s for future generations while they learn the context of this history around them in schools, monuments shouldn’t be teaching history, school curriculums should be so if you’re worried about nobody learning about Sutter because a statue came down or we rename a school, you’re got bigger problems to worry about”.