A statue commemorating Estevan Gomez sits in a park alongside Broad Street in Bangor in this June 23, 2020, file photo. Credit: Natalie Williams / BDN

The city of Bangor will hold public meetings starting next week to discuss the possible removal of a monument to a Portuguese explorer near the waterfront.

The monument to Estevan Gomez in a park near where the Kenduskeag Stream and Penobscot River meet has attracted scrutiny since the Memorial Day police killing of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis. His death sparked a nationwide examination of public monuments dedicated to those connected to oppression of people of color and Indigenous people.

The small concrete cross memorializes Gomez, who may have been the first European to sail up the Penobscot River about 500 years ago. But Gomez went on to capture some 50 Native people and sail back to Europe with them, where his efforts to sell them into slavery were quashed by Emperor Charles V of Spain.

The removal of the monument was raised by Maulian Dana, the tribal ambassador for the Penobscot Nation, at a Bangor City Council meeting in June.

The city’s Commission on Cultural Development will hold three meetings at 9 a.m. on Sept. 2, 17 and 30 to discuss the monument’s removal. People can participate by Zoom or through the livestream on the city’s Facebook page.

Anyone who wants to offer public comment must attend the meeting through Zoom or submit a comment at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting by emailing it to culturalcommission@bangormaine.gov.

Correction: An earlier version of this report misstated when the first of three public meetings was scheduled.

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