In Mexico City, a mysterious pre-Hispanic statue of a young woman will replace Columbus.

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In Mexico City, a mysterious pre-Hispanic statue of a young woman will replace Columbus.

Following the removal of Christopher Columbus’ statue last year, a replica of a mysterious pre-Hispanic sculpture of an Indigenous young woman uncovered earlier this year was chosen Tuesday to replace it in Mexico City.

According to the Associated Press, the statue is designated “The Young Woman of Amajac” after the village where it was discovered buried in a field in the Huasteca region in January. The National Institute of Anthropology and History claimed the statue was comparable to prior images of a fertility goddess in Huastec culture after it was discovered, although it’s unknown who the stone sculpture was depicting.

Because Indigenous people have been under-represented in Mexico, local officials chose to erect a copy of the Indigenous woman in the city’s most prominent promenade. According to The Guardian, the statue will be three times the size of the original, which stands at 6ft (2 meters).

Authorities claimed the Columbus statue was brought down for renovation before Oct. 12, 2020, which is known in Mexico as “Dia de la Raza” (Day of the Race) or Columbus Day in the United States. The decision was taken for preservation, according to Diego Prieto Hernández, the director of the National Institute of Anthropology and History.

“This was predicated on a necessity to conserve the sculptural group, which, if left in situ, would have been the object of threats and protests,” Hernández explained.

Before the statue was removed, protesters decrying the oppression of Indigenous peoples during the Spanish colonial era often sprayed graffiti on it.

The Mexican government now refers to October 12 as “Day of the Pluricultural Nation,” which coincides with the anniversary of Columbus’ “discovery” of the Americas in 1492, which is commemorated in Spain. Expressions of objection to the statue’s possible return accompanied the replacement of Columbus’ statue.

Columbus’ statue, according to historian Federico Navarrete, “cannot return to its location.” “Trying to impose this colonialist, racist narrative… makes no sense,” Navarette says. His remarks reflected the Mexican government’s prior demands for an apology from Spain and the Vatican for the treatment of the country’s “original peoples” during the Spanish invasion.

Although Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has yet to respond to Mexico’s request, Pope Francis acknowledged the “extremely terrible errors” made late last month. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.

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