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Debate around confederate monuments continues in Helena - KBZK.com | Continuous News | Bozeman, Montana

Debate around confederate monuments continues in Helena

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Although Helena's confederate monument in Hill Park is gone, the debate surrounding confederate monuments continues.

On Tuesday, a panel of experts sat down at Carroll College to discuss the proper role, if any, of confederate monuments in the nation.

The panel was comprised of City Commissioner Ed Noonan, Democratic Helena Representative Mary Ann Dunwell, Lewis and Clark County Historic Preservation Officer Pam Attardo, and Carroll College History professor Dr. D.J. Cash.

Attardo explained the origins of Helena's confederate monument, which was commissioned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1916.

Attardo began her research on the monument back in 2014 and discovered that, like many monuments across the country, it was meant to honor Confederate soldiers who were not allowed to be buried with Union soldiers in federal cemeteries.

However, Helena's monument came under fire after race-related violence in Charlottesville prompted the removal of many other confederate memorials across the country.

Representative Dunwell, who came out against the monument before it was removed in August, said hateful political rhetoric made it too dangerous to keep the fountain.

“To keep the monument, which was a symbol of social injustice, inhumanity, prejudice and bigotry, it just doesn't make sense," Dunwell said to the audience.

The fountain came under fire a couple of years ago and the Helena City Commission was divided on what to do at the time.

They decided to put up a sign to give context to the monument but that sign never went up.

Though no official vote was taken, the Commission decided unanimously in August to remove the monument at an administrative meeting.

The fountain was stored in a warehouse in Helena and there is no word yet of where it will reside in the future.

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