Michigan city seeks expert to discuss future of Custer site

MONROE, Mich. (AP) — A city in southeastern Michigan wants to hire an expert to try to reach a community consensus over the future of a monument dedicated to Gen. George Custer.

Custer, who lived in Monroe, has long been recognized as a heroic Army officer, first during the Civil War. But critics note that he also went to war against Native Americans before dying at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876.

Custer is immortalized in a statue that shows him on a horse in St. Mary’s Park in downtown Monroe. It sits next to an official Michigan historical marker.

The city council voted Monday to seek a consultant who would work with the community, the Monroe News reported. Options include adding more information about the Indian wars, moving the monument to another location or removing it from public view.

Council member Michelle Germani said Monroe needs a “guiding hand,” especially with the “broad spectrum of emotion” about the monument.

Steven Meyer said he's been bothered by the Custer statue since moving to Monroe in 2010.

“I do believe Custer deserves to be remembered and studied, but he doesn’t deserve to be deified in a bronze model in front of a church in the center of the city,” Meyer said.