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Statue of Captain Cook, Whitby

Statue of Captain Cook, Whitby


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Statues of Captain Cook are under threat after Black Lives Matter campaigners added the "genocidal" explorer to a national hit list.

Two statues in London and Whitby, two museums and a pub are among 125 controversial landmarks and tributes that activists want renamed or removed.

Additions to the list since the summer include Captain Cook Square, Captain Cook's Crescent, James Cook University Hospital and a Captain Cook museum, all of which are in Middlesbrough, along with the Captain Cook Memorial Museum in Whitby.

The "Topple the Racists" list, compiled by the Stop Trump Coalition in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, has more than doubled in length since it was first published in June 2020, analysis by The Telegraph has found.

Other statues in the sights of campaigners, who say Britain "must face the truth about its colonial past", include the Oxford tribute to Cecil Rhodes and numerous statues of Robert Peel.

"James Cook invaded Australia just over 250 years ago. He claimed possession over the entire nation even though it clearly belonged to the people already there," the coalition's website reads. "What followed was 250 of genocidal activities and policies based on race that murdered thousands of women, men and children. Captain Cook symbolises racial oppression and violence… [The statues] must be removed."

Robert Goodwill, the Conservative MP for Whitby and Scarborough, home to one of the statues and the Memorial Museum, said targeting the memorials was "completely ridiculous".

"Captain Cook is one of the proudest sons of Whitby. The statue is one of our best known landmarks, and the Captain Cook Museum is one of our most popular tourist attractions," he told The Telegraph.

"They're trying to erase important aspects of our history, and we all need to study history and learn from any mistakes. There were things done in the name of the Empire that would not be acceptable now, but we don't need to expunge them from history."

Tourists visit the seaside town from as far afield as Australia to see the harbour from which Captain Cook first set sail on his voyage, Mr Goodwill said, adding: "We're proud of Captain Cook in Whitby, and we wouldn&rsquot countenance any attempts to remove him from the history books."

The statue was designed by sculptor John Tweed and has overlooked Whitby, where all four of Cook's ships were built, since 1912.

Pub chain JD Wetherspoon is understood not to have any plans to rename The Resolution, its Middlesbrough pub named after Cook&rsquos flagship, as the chain believes the link is entirely historical.

A spokesman said: "It goes without saying that slavery is abhorrent. We will examine any examples of historical connections which are brought to our attention, including The Resolution, and discuss with customers and staff."

Polling commissioned by the BBC in 2002 saw Cook, who made the first recorded navigations of New Zealand and indigenous Australia, rank at number 12 in the broadcaster's list of the 100 Greatest Britons.

Under new laws outlined by Robert Jenrick, the Communities Secretary, which will take effect in the spring, statues, plaques and memorials will not be removed without a formal planning process, with prominent context being given for more controversial monuments.

In Australia, a bronze statue of Captain Cook in New South Wales which dates back to 1879 was defaced during Black Lives Matter protests in June.

A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesman said: "Any removal should require planning permission and local people given the chance to be properly consulted. That's why we are changing the law to protect historic monuments to ensure we don't repeat the errors of previous generations."

Under threat: Campaign group's targets

Captain Cook statue, Whitby

This has overlooked Whitby harbour since 1912.

Captain Cook statue, London

Completed in 1914, it stands on The Mall, by Admiralty Arch.

Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Whitby

On the harbour side of Grape Lane, it opened in 1986 and holds a VisitEngland Gold Award for Excellence.

Captain Cook Square, Middlesbrough

A retail area that is home to cafes, shops and restaurants.

Captain Cook Crescent, Middlesbrough

James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough

A major trauma centre that provides specialist care and treatment.

The Resolution, Middlesbrough

Part of the Wetherspoon chain, it is named after one of Cook's ships.


Whitby attracts tourists for a variety of reasons. Some people come to see the regional arts and crafts, while others come to see Whitby Abbey or surrounding coastal towns such as Robin Hood’s Bay. While these are all popular attractions, many tourists come to trace the path of the famous Captain James Cook.

Free Whitby Mini Guide

In fact, Whitby and Captain Cook will always go together, for without Whitby, there may never have been a Captain Cook.

Who was Captain Cook?

Captain James Cook needs little introduction British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the British Royal Navy. Famed for his discovery of Australia. Captain Cook is one of Whitby's most famous modern heroes.

Cook was born in Middlesbrough to a Scottish farm labourer, also named James, in 1728. Airey Holmes farm was his early childhood home and Mr Thomas Skottow, the farmer, paid for James Cook to attend the local school. After a four-year stint on the farm with his father, at the age of 16, he travelled to Staithes to serve an apprenticeship as a shopkeeper and haberdasher. Records speculate that it was here that Cook first fell for the sea.

Shop work didn't fit Cook. After just eighteen months he was introduced to the Walker brothers at Whitby. John and Henry Walker were friends of Sanderson the haberdasher and agreed to take on Cook as a merchant navy apprentice. For many years Cook plied coal along the coast between the Tyne and London aboard the Freelove. At this time Cook was living with the Walkers at their house on Grape Lane. It is this building that is now preserved as the Captain Cook Memorial Museum.

His apprenticeship complete, Cook sailed the Baltic trade routes and passed his exams in 1752. He progressed quickly to be offered command of collier brig, Friendship, in 1755. Less than a month later, sensing an opportunity for advancement and adventure, Cook had enlisted with the Royal Navy.

Cook stated that he intended not only to go

“farther than any man has been before me but as far as I think it is possible for a man to go”

During the Seven Years' War, Cook established a reputation for cartographic and topographic skills, notably, he created the map that was used to help General Wolfe mount a surprise attack at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759.

Cook would spend the next five seasons in the region of Newfoundland mapping and surveying all the coastline, rocks, and hidden dangers in maps that were used for the next 200 years. He also conducted an astronomical observation on 5 August 1766, he measured the eclipse of the sun with longitude taken at Newfoundland and cross-referenced with England.

© Copyright David Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The Royal Society was greatly impressed as were the Admiralty, at a time when the high seas were determining the direction of travel, not only for Cook's career in the Royal Navy but also the expansion of British interests overseas.

Captain James Cook undertook three great voyages for the Royal Navy and in doing so secured his reputation as one of the greatest maritime explorers of all time.

The Captain Cook Memorial Monument

Captain Cook Memorial Monument is a 7ft 6inch bronze statue to commemorate the men who built the four ships that Cook used on his voyages Endeavour, Resolution, Adventure, and Discovery. Situated in People's Park on the West Cliff, the statue commands a majestic view of Whitby Harbour, East Cliff, and St Mary's Church.

© Copyright Gerald England and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The inscription on the south face of the statue reads:

For the lasting memory of a great Yorkshire seaman this bronze has been cast and is left in the keeping of Whitby the birthplace of those good ships that bore him on his enterprises brought him to glory and left him at rest.

The bronze statue of Captain James Cook also has an inscription that reads:

Front: To Strive, to seek to find and not to yield. To commemorate the men who built, the Whitby Ships and the men who sailed with him.

North Side: In every situation he stood unrivalled and alone on him all eyes were turned.

The Captain Cook Whitby Museum

Tourists can relive many of the aspects of Captain Cook’s life when they go to Whitby. For starters, they can go to the Captain Cook Memorial Museum. The museum is inside John Walker’s house. Visitors can view the attic, which is believed to have housed Cook when he was on land. People can also see a model of Cook’s ship the Resolution, as well as a letter Cook wrote to Captain Hammond. These are just a few of the things people will find inside of the museum. The museum has several other relics, so you can easily spend quite a bit of time going from one artifact to the next.

Captain Cook Whitby Cruise

Whilst in Whitby definitely climb aboard the Captain Cook Experience Cruise. This cruise takes you out to sea to hear stories about the life and adventures of Captain Cook on the way. If you are interested in history, you will certainly love this adventure. Also, you’ll have a good time even if you don’t love history, thanks to the stunning views that you’ll see from the ship. If anything it's a beautiful way to see Whitby.

Captain Cook Country Tour

You can also take a Captain Cook Country Tour. If you do this, you will get to trace Captain Cook’s steps, all the way from his childhood home to Whitby. This is perfect for people who want to immerse themselves in everything that is Captain Cook. Just make sure you set aside enough time to devote to this tour. There will be a lot of travelling, so you don’t want to try to pack it in if you need to run from one activity to the next. Instead, you want to clear out several hours of the day so you can get the most out of this experience.

Visit the HM Bark Endeavour

Climb aboard the HM Bark Endeavour and dive into her rich history as a discovery vessel on the high seas.

Following this, if you’re not all Captain Cooked out walk along the harbour to see and climb aboard the HM Bark Endeavour. This replica has been renovated into a ship you can visit today. Aboard this floating museum, you will find all sorts of interactive displays and interesting snippets of history. On the main deck, there is a range of experiences such as learning nautical knots, cooking up a map, and sea shanty karaoke. On the top deck, you’ll find the capstan, ships wheel, canons, and the curious seat of ease.

These are just a few of your options if you want to have the complete Captain Cook experience in Whitby. Whitby and Captain Cook go together and you can become a part of it during your vacation. Book some tours and plan out different places you want to see that are related to Captain Cook. Then, you can head out to Whitby with an itinerary full of fun and interesting things to do. By the time you finish your trip, you’ll be an expert in all things related to Captain James Cook.


The i newsletter cut through the noise

It is as if I am being made to feel ashamed of my heritage and the history of this country by a minority of left wing zealots intent on rewriting the past to suit their own bigoted agenda.

Even Captain James Cook is in the sights of this new cultural revolution. His crime is shooting indigenous islanders who were attacking him, an action that he wrote deeply grieved him.

Cook stands on the cliff at Whitby looking to the east, usually with a seagull perched on his head and a splattering of guano down his face. Now he is being guarded by locals to stop him being pulled down.

Like something from Russia, China or the novel 1984, a culture war is taking place to wipe our history slate clean. This is to satisfy the desires of a generation of snowflakes who cannot understand that no one takes a statue at face value and most people with any sense realise that half of the metal faces looking down on them have a dodgy past.

Personally, I have never paid much attention to statues and regard them as just being a part of our history with little significance for the present day. They melt into the background of life.

The only statue I have ever been impressed by is that of Eric Morecambe. It stands on the seafront of the town he is named after. The artist has managed to capture in metal all the joy Eric has brought to millions of people. It is a worthwhile piece of art.

In Britain, there are 828 officially recorded statues, out of which only 80 are of named females. Hardly surprising, as it wasn’t until recently that women have been recognised for their great achievements and given a seat at the table of life – and quite rightly so.

Surely, if we are going to continue this strange tradition of making gods from mortals, shouldn’t we have a bit more of a gender balance?

The trouble is, that finding subjects male or female to use as bronze role models is quite hard. Most humans, even the super saints, often have skeletons in their cupboards. Therefore, I ask the question, do people have to be squeaky clean before they can be honoured on a plinth?

If that is the case, then most of the statues of men and women would have to go. Nelson Mandela proudly stands in Parliament Square. If you look into his past, he never renounced violence and favoured the armed struggle. That seems to be an inconvenient truth lots of people choose to forget.

Emily Davison was a suffragette who threw herself into the path of the King’s horse in the Derby. Throughout her life, she had used what some regarded as criminal methods to advance her cause. The people of Morpeth honour her with a statue.

Queen Victoria is honoured in most cities in the country. Whenever I see her statue, all I am reminded of is her lack of sympathy during the Great Hunger in Ireland where over a million people died and another million left the country.

So, who can we find to become bronze memorials for future generations? Top of my list would have been JK Rowling. Sadly, for her, this once national treasure has been dropped like a hot potato by everyone she has given a leg up, her crime being that she tweeted a message that was upsetting to trans people.

It leaves us with very few options. Ellen MacArthur has everything that would be needed to be remembered with a statue. Brave, courageous, resourceful and strong. The sailor is an ideal role model for women and men.

The campaigner Humayra Abedin is another woman who is worthy of being remembered. Her work to highlight the problems of forced marriages should never be forgotten.

If we are going to put up statues to people, then why not the staff of the NHS who gave their lives fighting this dreadful plague that torments the world? Anujkumar Kuttikkottu Pavithran, Grant Maganga and Safaa Alam are but three of the many hundreds of frontline fighters worthy of remembering. These people died so others could live.

That would be far more fitting and would bring back a sense of unity that the political far left is seeking to destroy.

GP Taylor is a writer and broadcaster.

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Captain Cook is on Topple the Racists' hit-list but Whitby MP says 'over my dead body'

The MP for a North Yorkshire town said a statue of Captain James Cook would only be removed "over his dead body".

A campaign has been launched which could see statues of the British explorer in Hambleton and North Yorkshire torn down because of the killing of Māori people shortly after Captain Cook&aposs arrival in New Zealand.

The website Topple the Racists has drawn up a hit-list of monuments and statues across the UK that should be taken down if they "celebrate slavery and racism".

On its website it said: "We believe these statues and other memorials to slave-owners and colonialists need to be removed so that Britain can finally face the truth about its past – and how it shapes our present."

Among the 60-strong list is the Captain Cook statue in Great Ayton and residents now fear a statue dedicated to him in Whitby could become a target as well.

But the MP for Whitby and Scarborough Robert Goodwill said he would do anything to prevent the removal.

"The statue of Captain Cook in Whitby would only be removed over my dead body. This is a ridiculous suggestion," he said.

"If they decide to remove the Great Ayton statue then I am sure we would find a second location in Whitby for it."

Captain Cook who worked as an apprentice in Whitby in 1746, left a legacy of scientific and geographical knowledge after sailing thousands of miles across largely uncharted areas of the globe.


Captain Cook was a ‘genuine working class hero’ and his statues should STAY, says his hometown’s mayor

THE mayor of Captain James Cook's hometown has defended the explorer as a "working class hero" and said his statues should not be removed.

A campaign called "Topple the Racists" has argued that memorials for Captain Cook should be taken down as he was a "colonialist who murdered Maori people" while discovering New Zealand in the 18th century.

The calls come as Black Lives Matter protesters target statues across the UK.

Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston said the Teesside area was proud of Captain Cook and that his monuments in the town as well as in Great Ayton, Whitby and London should stay standing.

"Cook was probably the greatest ever and certainly the most successful Teessider in history and the vast majority of us are rightly proud of his achievements on his great voyages of discovery," he told the Northern Echo.

"Cook was a genuine, working-class hero who rose from being a labourer's son to the most celebrated man in Europe.

"Of course. they were very different times and I'm sure that a modern day Captain Cook would not act in the way that he did back then, when values, standards and beliefs were very different to modern thinking."

Captain James Cook: Why is he controversial?

CAPTAIN James Cook was a British explorer who led the first expedition to Australia.

He was responsible for the first European contact with the east coast of Australia and Hawaii, and he also was the first to sail all the way around New Zealand.

Cook's legacy as a great seafarer and explorer has been questioned due to claims of violence and brutality.

In Australia, Aboriginal people claim Cook's arrival at Botany Bay in Sydney in 1770 was not peaceful and that he shot and killed indigenous people before reaching land. Activists believe Cook's arrival was an "invasion".

Similarly in New Zealand, those against Cook claim he and his crew were responsible for killing the native Maori people and spreading disease after they arrived in 1769.

Cook was killed in Hawaii in 1779.

Mr Preston called on other politicians to publicly support retaining Captain Cook's statues.

A primary school, road and hospital are named after Cook in Middlesbrough.

Whitby MP Robert Goodwill also advocated for keeping Captain Cook's statues, saying the monument of a young Cook in his town would be only removed "over my dead body".


‘What next, rename the hospital?’ Anger at calls for statue of James Cook to be torn down

Calls to tear down a statue of Captain Cook have been sounded in the name of the Black Lives Matter movement.

A website called toppletheracists.org has published a hitlist of historic British monuments and statues they say must go.

Great Ayton’s memorial of a young James Cook is one of them.

A note on the site reads: “James Cook was a colonialist who murdered Maori people in their homeland.”

Now Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston is asking Teesside’s politicians to join him in protecting Cook’s legacy, claiming it would be a ‘travesty’ if his statues were removed from display.

Around 60 other UK statues linked to racism are on the list, drawn up after a statue of slave trader Edward Colston was thrown into the river by protesters in Bristol.

Topple the Racists says it has included cases “where there is responsibility for colonial violence” - although it claims it has “made some judgement calls” because “history is complicated”.

Teesside’s most famous son and one of the world’s most celebrated explorers, James Cook travelled roughly the equivalent of a journey to the moon by the time he was killed by natives in Hawaii.

Mayor Preston said Cook was a “genuine working class hero” and he wants fellow politicians to oppose the “whitewashing” of his name from the history books.

He said: “Cook was probably the greatest ever and certainly the most successful Teessider in history and the vast majority of us are rightly proud of his achievements on his great voyages of discovery.

“He rose from being a labourer’s son to the most celebrated man in Europe.

“Of course, there were different times and I’m sure that a modern day Captain Cook would not act in the way that he did back then when values, standards and beliefs were very different to modern thinking.

“It would be fair to introduce an updated and accurate description of Cook’s achievements but also the fact that good and bad resulted from his journeys and discoveries.”

Topple The Racists says “memorials to slave-owners and colonialists” need to be removed so that “Britain can finally face the truth about its past – and how it shapes our present.”

“Topple the Racists is inspired by the direct action taken by Bristolians,” its website says.

“Statues are exercises in public adoration.

“And Edward Colston made his fortune in the slave trade.

“He was part of a system of mass murder, torture and human suffering.

“We must learn from, not venerate, this terrible chapter in British colonial history.”

The website is encouraging the public to add examples, highlighting historical figures who were “elevated” with “no mention of their part in exploitation or racial violence”.

“It is not our job to decide what happens,” the website says.

“Monuments can find a new home in museums, or through art and some might simply be removed.

“Glorifying colonialists and slavers has no place in a country serious about dismantling systemic racism and oppression, but education does.”

The legacy of Captain Cook has come under increased scrutiny in recent years.

Graffiti was sprayed on another statue of the world famous navigator and cartographer in Sydney’s Hyde Park - which states Cook “discovered” Australia.

Vandals daubed the words “Change the date” and “No pride in genocide” onto the statue in 2018.

Earlier this year graffiti was daubed on Captain Cook&aposs Monument overlooking Teesside.

Vandals daubed paint on the plaque and also sprayed the word &aposMaoris&apos across the base of the obelisk.

Cook&aposs name also lives on at James Cook University Hospital, which renamed in his honour from South Cleveland Hospital in 2001.

Teessiders have been giving their views on the row on social media.

“In that case we have to change the name of the hospital,” one said. “Can’t rip a statue down and then still have his name on a NHS building, what a joke.”

Another added: “I see no worshipping at these statues, Captain Cook stands in Great Ayton as a page of the history books.

“History is littered with wrong doing as well as right.”

Conservative MP Simon Clarke, who represents Marton in his Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency, said the UK should be proud of how it&aposs dealt with its complex past.

“There are of course some difficult and very painful issues we have to confront, but I do not believe that seeking to erase the past or to impose our values on people who lived centuries ago is helpful," he said.

"Their achievements - and their faults - need to be understood in context.

"Where people feel differently, there are democratic routes for them to go down to seek changes to issues like which statues are on display. These decisions cannot be taken by people committing criminal damage to rip things down.

“Overall, I would caution against the liberal-left running away with this. We are the home of Parliamentary democracy. We led the way in abolishing slavery and for most of the nineteenth century the Royal Navy was explicitly tasked with stopping the slave trade.


Most agree on the story of Captain Cook’s time in Cook Inlet, they differ on how to tell it

The Captain Cook statue in downtown Anchorage (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)

Amid nationwide calls to reexamine America’s history of racism, activists say that a statue of the Captain Cook is a place for Anchorage to start its own conversation.

The statue stands overlooking Cook Inlet, named decades after James Cook’s visit to the area. The faded bronze statue portrays the 18th Century figure staring into the waters below, with a chart in one hand and an unbuttoned peacoat trailing behind him.

Ahtna artist Melissa Shaginoff of Chickaloon said she’s not inspired.

“It doesn’t feel like my place when I’m around this,” she said. “It’s this oppressive, it’s this sanctioned symbol of oppression that he is still towering over us physically and, you know spiritually.”

Along with over 20 other leaders, mostly Indigenous, Shaginoff is asking for the removal of the statue by the end of June.

A letter, along with an online petition that has gathered more than 3,600 signatures as of Monday morning, have found an audience at highest levels of Anchorage’s government. Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz recently announced that the Native Village of Eklutna should have the right to make the decision about what to do with the statue, though that is unlikely to happen by the end of June. It also got the attention of Whitby, England, a sister city of Anchorage and the place where James Cook learned to sail, as well as the Captain Cook Society, a group of historians.

They all agree that the statue and the surrounding signage, which still lists Denali as Mt. McKinley, need reworking to give more context about the Indigenous people who lived in the area before Cook’s arrival.

Activists like Shaginoff say that taking a moderate approach misses an opportunity for a more dramatic reexamination of Alaska’s history that is needed in this moment.

“I do think that removing the statue is a symbol of that change. And we need an outward symbol,” she said.

What did Captain Cook do while in Cook Inlet?

James Cook visited Southcentral Alaska in 1778 as he sought the Northwest Passage. Cook’s vessel, the HMS Resolution, set anchor just off of what is now Fire Island, said James Barnett, an Anchorage attorney who has written seven books on Cook’s voyages, with a particular interest in his time in Alaska.

“He sent Lieutenant King up Turnagain Arm. King couldn’t get very far… which is why it’s called Turnagain,” said Barnett.

With the realization that there was no outlet through the landmass to the Atlantic Ocean, Cook sent King to shore to claim possession of the territory, which he did at Point Possession, located about 30 miles north of modern day Nikiski.

Barnett said the crew, led by Lieutenant William Bligh spent about an hour on shore. They planted a British flag, and went through the formal rights of claiming possession.

They were met by a number of “well-armed warriors,” Barnett said. He guesses up to 20 of them met Cook’s party, wielding spears.

RELATED: LISTEN: This Alaska Native artist dug a grave for Capt. Cook’s statue

They also did some trading, though without a common language, Barnett imagines it was somewhat confusing for both. But Cook’s men were able to communicate one thing: the might of Western technology. Barnett said the ship’s surgeon, John Law, shot and killed a local dog.

John Webber, Man of Turnagain Arm, 1778. Watercolor. This image shows a Dena’ina man from the shores of Cook Inlet, dressed in a fringed caribou-hide tunic. He wears face paint, a bone nose pin, a labret with pendant glass trade beads, and a bead necklace. Courtesy of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard via James Barnett)

“It was the standard process that Cook used to prove firepower and then, when the warriors saw that their firepower killed this dog, they set their weapons down,” he said.

According to Barnett, that killing raised concerns by Cook, who heard the report back on the Resolution. But Law, who was not in charge of the shore party, told Cook that he thought the warriors were preparing for an attack with their spears.

With that, they left, just ten days after arriving. Cook had more significant contact with other tribes and communities in Prince William Sound and later in the Aleutians, but after an unsuccessful attempt at the Northwest Passage, he was turned back in the Bering Sea.

Later, he sailed to Hawaii. He was eventually killed there by the Native Hawaiians.

Cook’s journey through Cook Inlet did provide both valuable mapping and the first written ethnographic accounts of the Dena’ina, the only coastal Athabascan people in Alaska. Those included the first image of a Dena’ina person, painted by artist John Webber, who accompanied the expedition. Barnett said that occurred after the dog was shot.

And while Cook’s ethnocentric account of the encounter does exclude the voices of the Dena’ina who met him, Barnett said that he thinks that the captain did a fair job in depicting what occurred.

“I sincerely doubt there were any more serious conflagrations than what Cook reported,” said Barnett, “He’s a pretty careful reporter.”

The lack of any encounters shows Barnett that British attitudes were generally more enlightened than those of the Russians, Spanish, and Americans, who Barnett said committed genocide to the West Coast Natives.

Fight over the statue

The inlet bears that Cook’s name was called Tikahtnu or “big water river,” by the Dena’ina. That word has only recently become known to most Anchorage residents after it was given to an East Anchorage shopping center.

Ruth Miller, a Dena’ina community organizer who grew up in Anchorage, said that the biggest problem with the statue is what it leaves out.

“What is said with his being here is a story that’s communicated about only a fraction of time only a small part of our history,” she said.

For someone who never set foot on land in the area, the way Cook’s statue is portrayed towering above passersby, gives a misleading message, she said. Joel Isaak, a Dena’ina artist with roots in the area of Point Possession, said at a recent Sister Cities Commission meeting that the artistic form intentionally portrays a colonial mindset.

“The history of bronze statuary, specifically the way that it is erected and presented in this way is designed to portray dominance and conquest, and that is not – from what we’ve been hearing – an accurate representation of what Cook did here,” he said.

There’s also the fact that the statue was donated by British Petroleum, now BP. That company announced in 2019 it was selling its Alaska assets. But more than that, Rochelle Adams, a Gwich’in artist, says that it perpetuates a type of economic colonialism of exploitation of Indigenous lands.

While the city announced it would let the Native Village of Eklutna make any decision on the statue, Eklutna president Aaron Leggett takes a moderate view. Leggett said that he doesn’t support the removal of the statue, though he thinks the signage around the area needs to be revamped. He said he doesn’t like the idea of statues to start with.

“We don’t like the idea of statues our whole you know, one of the problems that we faced as a people has been that when outsiders came into our homeland, they looked at what was a, what they thought was an untouched, blank canvas landscape,” he said, “But in fact, our belief is that you leave a place better than you found it. We’ve been stewards of the land for over 1000 years.”

And gaining broad public support requires re-education of the population about the entire history of the region that has more influence from the first people of the region.

The historian Barnett agrees. He said Cook should be recognized for being the great explorer that he was, charting the world’s coastlines and for his relatively enlightened view of Native people he encountered.

(Left to right) Ahtna artist and curator Melissa Shaginoff from Chickaloon, Artist, Gwich’in linguist and educator Rochelle Adams, and Dena’ina community organizer Ruth Łchav’aya K’isen Miller from the Lake Clark region are among the advocates of removing the Cook statue. (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)

“I think proper interpretation – maybe another statue up there and on Resolution Park? Totally appropriate. Because Cook didn’t have a very significant contact with the Dena’ina,” said Barnett.

Cook shouldn’t blamed for all the pain of colonization that was in fact caused more by the Americans than British explorers, Barnett said.

But for Miller, Shaginoff, and other activists, removing the statue is part of the educational process that needs to happen. In their letter to the mayor, the group laid out a plan to begin a long-lasting discussion about how history is portrayed in Southcentral.

Shaginoff said that “giving the decision solely to Eklutna allows the city to avoid accountability while ignoring the surrounding Dena’ina tribes.”

The group has also made clear that they are not out to illegally pull down the statue in the middle of the night, as has been done into statues in other places. The removal of the statue should be a public process.

“This is not a moment of destruction, this is a moment of creation. This is an opportunity to create not just a story, but to create new relationships across our diverse community,” Miller said.

Rochelle Adams’ title was previous was misstated in a previous version of this article.


The Captain Cook Monument at Waimea, Kauai was dedicated in 1928

In the afternoon of Jan. 20, 1778, Capt. James Cook&rsquos ships, the Resolution and Discovery, dropped anchors off the mouth of the Waimea River on Kaua&lsquoi, and Cook, the British explorer and discoverer of the Hawaiian Islands, made for shore with a guard of 12 armed marines in three boats.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Hawaiians waited ashore to greet him with offerings of bananas, pigs and kapa.

At the moment Cook stepped from his boat &mdash and in doing so made his first landing in Hawai&lsquoi at a site in what is today called Lucy Wright Park &mdash the commoner Hawaiians on shore fell prone on the ground before him, just as they would have done before their highest ranking ali&lsquoi.

Some 150 years later, on Aug. 16, 1928, sesquicentennial celebrations commemorating Cook&rsquos landing were held at Waimea Park (renamed Hofgaard Park in 1931 in honor of Judge C.B. Hofgaard), and a stone Cook monument was unveiled and dedicated there as well.

Earlier, in the wee hours after midnight of Aug. 16, the battleship USS Pennsylvania, along with its accompanying convoy of submarines, minesweepers and destroyers, anchored off Waimea in the area where Cook&rsquos ships had anchored 150 years before.

Also at anchor were the inter-island liner Wai&lsquoale&lsquoale and three British warships: the HMS Cornwall, HMAS Brisbane and HMS Dunedin.

Ship&rsquos boats carrying naval officers, civilian VIPs and 100 sailors from the USS Pennsylvania, 150 British marines, the bagpipe corps of the HMS Cornwall and the Pennsylvania&rsquos band were escorted shoreward in sampans driven by local Japanese and Hawaiians.

Waimea&rsquos black-sand beach and the Waimea Pier were thronged with spectators.

On the pier, 300 Japanese children of the Waimea Japanese Language School waved flags of the United States, Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia.

The USS Pennsylvania band played &ldquoHawaii Pono&lsquoi,&rdquo &ldquoGod Save the King,&rdquo &ldquoAustralia Fair&rdquo and &ldquoAmerica.&rdquo

Mrs. Kalahikiola Hali chanted of Cook&rsquos greatness in the Hawaiian language.

Airplanes circled above the assemblage, dropping flowers.

Dignitaries made speeches in Waimea Park, and a 21-gun salute boomed from each of the four warships.


Whitby 'proud of Captain Cook' after UK monuments row

Whitby town council had said they are proud of Captain James Cook - after tributes to the explorer elsewhere were added to a Topple the Racist website.

In a statement they said that ɻy recognising our past was an imperfect time we can tackle today's inequalities and work to build a better future'.

Around three thousand people have joined an online group set up to protect the statue in Whitby.

Meanwhile, a North Yorkshire county councilllor says tensions are running high.

Captain James Cook and the Bark Endeavour are synonymous with Whitby. Cook was a navigator and an explorer who brought the world closer together in the Eighteenth Century and bound Whitby forever to communities across the globe. He charted the southern oceans and expanded scientific knowledge through his voyages. Whitby is proud of James Cook and proud of its maritime history. It is by recognising that our past was an imperfect time that we can tackle today's inequalities and work to build a better future together. Whitby celebrates James Cook because he will always belong here


Watch the video: CAPTAIN COOK STATUE WHITBY (January 2022).