The “genocide cannon” is removed from the Decatur Square on Oct. 19. (Courtesy Decaturish)

A controversial relic of the Creek Indian War of 1836 was removed from the Decatur Square on Oct. 19 and placed in storage.

The removal, which brought cheers from onlookers, was approved earlier this month by the DeKalb County Commission.

Activists had been calling for the removal of what they dubbed the “genocide cannon” for a year following removal of a Civil War monument from the square glorifying the Confederacy.

“This victory proves that the earth beneath has more power than the cannon,” John Winterhawk, an elder with the Muscogee tribe, said in a press release issued by the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights.

Winterhawk used sage and a hawk’s wing to smudge the ground where the cannon had rested, and sprinkled ceremonial tobacco on the ground.

According to a report at Decaturish, the cannon was placed on the square in 1906 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to mark the removal of Indigenous peoples following the Creek Indian War.

In 1821, Georgia forced the sale of half of the remaining Creek land, including the land that is now the city of Decatur, which was taken by white settlers in a land lottery.

“It’s clear that this relic cannon is a wayward orphaned cannon that has no clear ownership,” said Commissioner Ted Terry, who introduced the resolution to remove the cannon. “It’s in the public right of way, so the effort of this resolution is to remove it within 90 days and hopefully the rightful owners will come forward. I appreciate all of the residents, constituents, and the city of Decatur for prompting us to take action on this.”

The removal of the cannon is the latest effort by local governments to re-examine monuments dedicated to the Confederacy or that celebrate white supremacy.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.