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Massive Native American statue 'Rotaynah' in Akron is being removed

Posted at 12:24 PM, Aug 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-20 12:24:28-04

A massive Native American statue that has withstood the elements in Akron and honors Native American history is coming down for good, according to our media partners at the Akron Beacon-Journal.

The wooden statue at Resnik Community Center, 65 N. Meadowcroft Dr., has been worn away by weather and bugs. The statue, carved out of a 20-ton Kentucky red oak, had its feathers removed in 2011 when they became too heavy for the structure to bear.

The Akron Public School District is partnering with the Barberton Tree Service to remove the statue from its location and to bring it inside for storage—if it makes it that far.

Less than 35 years after its dedication, the 20-foot statue is so deteriorated that the district has determined it a safety hazard.

The statue, called "Rotaynah" from the Tuscarora word for "chief," was donated to the district in 1985 by Peter "Wolf" Toth, according to the Akron Beacon-Journal.

Toth, whose family fled Hungary during the 1956 uprising, was inspired by the similar injustices he and Native Americans experienced.

He's carved more than 70 towering Native American statues in every state and around the world. Rotaynah was his 51st statue in his series called "Trail of the Whispering Giants."

Officials are still figuring out a date for the extraction of the statue. The statue's deterioration will make it difficult to move.

Those involved in the removal are hopeful they can preserve as much of the statue as they can so they can put it on display again.