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Business Owner Defends 'Offensive' Sign After Activist Group Calls For Its Removal

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Photo Credit: KOB 4

A sign outside a Durango gallery has sparked controversy, with some people calling for the removal of the Native American caricature sign.

Recently, and activist group created a GoFundMe page to raise funds to be used for the removal of the offensive sign.

Photo Credit: KOB 4

Owner of Toh Atin Gallery, Jackson Clark, maintained: "We’re not gonna take anybody's money to take that sign down. Basically if somebody wants to give money to somebody they need to give it to people on the Navajo reservation. Some of these charities out there dig deep and are providing solar power and fresh water to Navajo homes out there."

The gallery buys and sells Native American Art, and the owner stated that the sign has attracted a couple of people into the gallery. He added that a lot of Native American artists were not offended by the sign.

Photo Credit: KOB 4

"We've come up with several ideas and suggested several things and every one of them has been declined primarily by the Native Artist we work with saying, ‘Don't do that’, so were still looking,” he said. “We’re still willing to talk to somebody, but until somebody can give me a real good reason why this sign is a racist sign and if we can adapt to meet that, we’re happy to do it."

However, some believe that the sign has up for too long and that it perpetuates racial stereotypes. The group behind the fundraising, Four Borderless Corners, released a statement that read in part, "Our intention with this letter is to recognize the momentum around the movements we're seeing across the nation to eliminate, remove and remedy the dehumanizing practice of using a caricature of People of Color in imagery as a marketing tool.”

Photo Credit: KOB 4

On Monday, members of the group gathered to honor Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and called for the removal of the sign. 

In June, the sign was vandalized using red spray paint. 

Sources: KOB 4