A committee in Bangor is recommending the city remove a monument to a Portuguese explorer along the Bangor waterfront.
Bangor officials began exploring whether to remove the monument, to explorer Estevan Gomez, earlier this year, at the request of the Penobscot Nation. Gomez visited North America 500 years ago and kidnapped Native Americans, with plans to sell them back in Europe.
A subcommittee was formed to take public comment and research the issue. Chair Amy Roeder says the group heard from several historians and leaders, including Penobscot Nation Ambassador Maulian Dana, who told members that the prominent display continues to harm indigenous people.
“Ultimately, the subcommittee agreed with that statement. And we are recommending the monument be de-assessed,” Roeder says, “because the indigenous people of this area contributed a hell of a lot more than one dude from Portugal, sailing under the flag of Spain.”
The city’s cultural development commission also recommends moving part of the monument into the Bangor Historical Society and replacing the display with something that acknowledges the Wabanaki people in the area.
The recommendation will likely head to the city’s economic committee later this month and is expected to be taken up by the full city council shortly after.