Saginaw discussing future of 'First White Man' monument | Michigan Radio

Saginaw discussing future of 'First White Man' monument

Jul 13, 2020

The monument sits near the entrance to Ojibway Island in Saginaw
Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Monday, Saginaw City Council is expected to have a discussion about a local monument honoring the “First White Man” to visit the Saginaw Valley.

The monument honors Henri Nouvel, a Catholic missionary who traveled through the region in the 1600’s.

Saginaw resident Alexander Verdoni raised the issue with city leaders last week.   He would like to see the monument removed from the city’s Ojibway park or at least have a new monument be erected acknowledging the region’s Indigenous people.

“(One) that’s able to portray a more nuanced history from the Ojibway perspective. That would be, that would be really cool,” says Verdoni.

He’s hoping for a “dynamic” discussion during the city council meeting.

The monument was donated by Saginaw’s Catholic community in the 1950’s.  A spokesman for the Saginaw diocese says church leaders welcome a discussion regarding the monument.