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As I See It

Compromise key to resolving Hiawatha dispute



Sometimes, there are just no easy answers. No answers that satisfy everyone. That is when compromise is needed. And compromise appears to be the key to resolving the dispute over the Hiawatha statue in La Crosse’s Riverside Park. The statue has stood proudly in the park for decades, but in recent years, critics have labeled it as insensitive, a caricature of native Americans. They say it doesn’t belong on city property. Now the family of the artist who created the statue say they are open to the idea of moving the statue, perhaps to some farm property. That gets it off public property, and should satisfy critics. But we shouldn’t just hide the statue where no one can see it. If it is to be moved, it should be moved to private property, but not a location where no one travels. There are plenty of good locations in the city of La Crosse where the statue could stand. There are no doubt many property owners who would be proud to host Hiawatha. That would get the statue out of the park, but keep it visible for those who want to see it. It may not satisfy those who think the statue should be torn down, or those who think it should be able to remain where it is, but it seems a good compromise.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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