The Fight to Save an Iconic Sculpture at Charles Towne Landing

June 15, 2017, 10:20 am EST | Share:

CHARLESTON, SC (ALEX HEATON, WTAT-TV) — He landed at a popular state park in Charleston thanks to a national sculpture artist, but his home could soon be uprooted. Now, locals are trying to save the historic tribute to the Native American culture at Charles Towne Landing.

“As a child I can remember just feeling like it was a giant hovering over me,” said Kelly Gaskins. She calls it a sense of protection – a feeling she gets when she looks up at the historic sculpture and thinks back on her childhood.

“This sculpture represents the Native American people of South Carolina but also the Native American culture,” she said. “It represents 40 years of memories for families not just in South Carolina but across the world who have taken photos in front of it or gone on school field trips to see it.”

That’s why she organized the fight to save the Landing Brave.

“You know, I’m trembling right now because it makes me want to cry that we have this amazing beautiful sculpture that the park seems to have forgotten about,” she said.

Gaskins says a spokesperson for the park service told her the sculpture would be permanently removed. But park manager, Rob Powell, says not so fast.

“The statue is made out of wood, and wood rots unfortunately,” he said. “Everything cannot last forever. Just to prevent any safety hazards, we were talking about taking it down, evaluating the structural integrity and doing any repairs that needed to be done then making a decision after that point.”

He says the original plan might have been to take down the Landing Brave for good, but now they are reconsidering that move.

One issue is whether the detailed depiction is historically accurate. “A proper depiction of a Coastal Indian, such as the Kiawah or Edisto Tribe you see right behind me.”

Powell said the Landing Brave is actually a sculpture of a Western Plains Indian, but that alone will not result in its removal.

“We don’t intentionally try to remove things that aren’t during that time period,” said Powell.

Still, Gaskins said her fight isn’t over.

“In 1977, 40 years ago someone here at Charles Towne landing thought it was historically accurate,” she said. “So, 40 years later someone has decided they don’t like the sculpture anymore, and that’s a shame.”