When Christopher Columbus’s human remains were discovered in a lead box inside Santo Domingo’s Basilica Cathedral of Santa María la Menor in 1877, Santo Domingo City Hall proposed commissioning a statue and a mausoleum. The Columbus statue featured an india, or a Native woman, presumably Taino chieftain Anacaona, on the pedestal base, writing words of praise to the admiral, who stood atop the monument. This essay explores how Anacaona’s racialized and gendered body symbolically validated a public nationalist discourse, while arguably erasing the roles that Blacks and Indigenous peoples had played in shaping island life since 1492.

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