Dismantling process of 'Scaffold' sculpture begins

- The most controversial piece of art in the newly renovated Minneapolis sculpture gardens is coming down.

The sculpture, "Scaffold" partly depicts the mass-hanging of 38 members of the Dakota tribe in Mankato in 1862. It sparked protests over Memorial Day weekend, causing the Walker Art Center to postpone the grand reopening of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.  

After a mediation meeting, Walker Art Center and Dakota tribe leaders announced on Wednesday an agreement to dismantle the piece and ceremonially burn it.

The Dakota elders started a ceremony on Friday with a traditional song about getting in a good frame of mind and about positivity.

Not long after, a crew began dismantling the installation piece “Scaffold" using chainsaws.

Before that work began, there was another prayer held next to the structure that everyone, public included, was asked not to record.

That prayer was to protect the workers from the negative energy the elders say the "Scaffold" structure emanates.

The work is being done by Straight Line Construction, a Native American company.

“So this symbol of taking down negative energy that was brought here to use in a negative way to justify the means of taking our original land and spiritual belief system will now end,” said Sheldon Wolfchild, a tribal elder.

The dismantling process is planned to take four days. Another crew will come to dismantle the steel support sculpture and the concrete underneath it.

The wood will be burned in a ceremonial fire at Ft. Snelling at a later date to be determined.

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