Republican lawmakers ask historical society when Columbus statue will be returned to Minnesota capitol

Christopher Columbus statue is taken down outside the Minnesota State Capitol.

Republican lawmakers are calling on the Minnesota Historical Society to provide details on when a statue of Columbus that was torn down by protesters last month will be returned to its place on the Minnesota capitol grounds.

In a letter sent to the historical society, and posted on Twitter, Senator Carla Nelson and Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen say, based on their reading of the law, the statue should be returned to its spot and the historical society shouldn't need any further approval to replace it.

The senators are asking the historical society to detail when the statue will be returned to its spot on the capitol grounds along with details on any obstacles that would prevent that.

In a statement that accompanied the letters, Nelson wrote in part: "One does not get a pass on tearing down a statue because they do not like it... We can't erase history by tearing down statues, but we can reinterpret it -- we should talk about what we believed then and what we believe now and how our thinking has changed."

Last week, the Capitol Area Architectural and Planning Board, which oversees statues at the capitol, said it would cost taxpayers $154,000 to repair the statue.

The statue had stood on capitol grounds since 1931 before protesters with a Native American advocacy group pulled the statue down on June 10. Organizers pointed to the dark and often neglected history of Columbus, who oversaw atrocities against Native Americans in the years after coming to America.

Mike Forcia, who organized the rally and the statue's toppling, told reporters shortly after the statue came down that he was warned he would face criminal charges for pulling down the statue.

However, as of Thursday, the Ramsey County Attorney's Office says no charges have been filed in relation to the statue's removal.