A statue commemorating Estevan Gomez sits in a park alongside Broad Street in Bangor on June 23. Credit: Natalie Williams / BDN

The Penobscot Nation is calling on the city of Bangor to take down a monument honoring a Portuguese explorer from the city’s waterfront.

Tribal Ambassador Maulian Dana originally proposed removing the monument for explorer Estevan Gomez to the Bangor City Council in June. The council formed a subcommittee to collect public comment and research Gomez, who 500 years ago journeyed to North America, kidnapped Native Americans and planned to sell them as slaves.

On Thursday, Dana told members of the subcommittee that the monument was a continual reminder of traumatic events.

“When I talk to tribal members about this issue, a lot of people say, well, why don’t we have a monument to a famous Penobscot who made a lot of contributions? Or something to really memorialize these strong connections between our two communities? We’re connected by the same river. We’re very close.”

Dana said that tribal members agree that simply adding additional context to the monument is not enough.

“Everybody is really on the same page with removing this,” Dana said. “And possibly getting it into a museum, or some spot where it’s not a shrine of honor, but it’s an historical artifact where we can tell the entire story.”

The subcommittee’s three members were largely in agreement about removal of the monument. The group will finalize its recommendations at a meeting later this month.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.