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Letter - Big Ole is damaging community

To the editor:

I beg to differ with the Runestone Museum's attitude toward Big Ole, as expressed in the August 9 issue of Echo Press in the article, "Standing tall."

Carol Meyer had much to say about the importance of Big Ole as a community asset. She also said, "But because the Vikings were here in 1362, we think a Viking is appropriate for us to have."

Well, 250 years separate the Runestone from Vikings, so Meyer and the Runestone Museum and the entire community are making a big mistake by conjoining the two. How? Because this is causing citizens and visitors alike to confuse true medieval Scandinavian history (in Minnesota) with Scandinavian immigrant heritage. For example, the Runestone is a Christian stone document, not a pagan document. Is this important? Of course it is, yet the museum sells trinkets featuring Big Ole right alongside those featuring the Runestone.

In my opinion, Big Ole should be relocated and not affiliated with the museum at all. Why? Because damage is being done to the community, and to the historical record itself, every day Big Ole "stands tall" a mere stone's throw away from the museum.

The museum and the community can't have it both ways, as there is a direct conflict causing this confusion as expressed by Meyer about the Vikings and the Runestone. I'm not blaming her only in this, as local area media outlets are constantly making the same mistake.

To be clear, I'm also blaming the entire museum staff and even the Chamber of Commerce, as well as this newspaper and city officials. Big Ole is nothing to be proud of because he's actively damaging the very community that also wants to represent the Kensington Runestone.

Perhaps the Runestone should be moved back to Kensington Runestone Park, where it may belong anyway and far away from Big Ole.

Robert Voyles

Bloomington, MN