11 Aug Chief Noonday joins other Grand Rapids ‘legends’ honored with statues

A new seven foot tall bronze sculpture now stands in downtown Grand Rapids.

Chief Noonday is part of the Grand Rapids Community Legends Project funded by the Peter Secchia Family Foundation.  The bronze work was unveiled Tuesday at the Pew Campus of Crand Valley State University.

“Today we unveiled Chief Nawquageezhig one of the foremost figures in the early history of Grand Rapids and certainly one of the most well known personalities from the Native American community,” says Joseph Becherer of the Community Legends Project.

The statues recognize the people — past and present — who were influential in shaping the city.

“It’s just an issue that you don’t know who you can be and feel good about yourself if you don’t know who you once were, so now we’re celebrating the people who made the community what it is,” says Secchia.

The first statue of Lucius Lyon was dedicated in 2008. The committee hopes to unveil a new statue every two years. Some of the future works will include Grand Rapids first African American mayor, Lyman Parks, and Amway co-founder Jay Van Andel.

“The vision for this is to help this community as it continues to grow, and change and evolve into the future remember some of the many individuals who helped to give it form,” says Becherer.

“That’s the purpose of this community legends,” says Secchia. “These are all diverse members who helped build a community, so we honor them.”

Chief Noonday was instrumental in the negotiations that opened up much of Michigan to settlement.

Reported by Mike Powers

Chief Noonday, the newest Grand Rapids Community Legends Project statue in downtown.

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