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Controversial Statue Removed From San Francisco Civic Center

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Only the concrete base remained early Friday after work crews worked overnight to remove a 19th century statue near San Francisco City Hall that activists say was racist and demeaning to indigenous people.

The "Early Days" statue -- a Native American at the feet of a Spanish cowboy and a Catholic missionary -- stood in Civic Center for 125 years had been the focus of a battle over its removal for decades.

On Wednesday, the San Francisco Board of Appeals voted unanimously to remove the statue which is part of a memorial depicting California's founding. Native Americans had fought for the statue's removal because they don't want their children to witness their people being treated in a degrading and stereotypical way.

"I think we're witnessing a moment in history where, commendably, San Francisco officials are doing the right thing to help rectify the mistreatment of indigenous people," Janeen Antoine, who is of Lakota heritage, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "We're very happy this is finally happening after decades of work and struggle from the native community."

San Francisco Pioneer Statue Removal
A statue called "Early Days" is being removed amid complaints that it is offensive to Native Americans. (CBS)

The board had voted in April voted to overturn a decision by the city's Arts Commission to remove the sculpture.

At the time, appeals board member Rick Swig called the statue "horrible" but said removing it would squash free speech.

© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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