NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A coalition of Italian-American groups appealed to New York City’s Landmarks Commission on Monday to help protect the statue of Christopher Columbus in Columbus Circle.

The statue has been the subject of recent controversy regarding Columbus’ treatment of indigenous peoples.

Last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio discussed installing historical markers near the statue to tell a fuller story about him.

The Columbus Heritage Coalition is seeking landmark status for the statue, under the belief that such a designation would prevent those markers from being erected.

“We believe New York’s Landmark Preservation Laws offer the very protection we have sought, and were deprived of, by the Mayor’s Commission report and its recommendation to modify this scenic landmark. In fact, we were surprised to learn that this monument, which is over 125 years old, never before benefited from New York’s Landmark law,” said Angelo Vivolo of the Columbus Heritage Coalition.

A spokesman for the Landmarks Commission says statues are typically regulated by the Public Design Commission, though Landmarks makes recommendations.

“As a proud member of the Italian American community, the governor strongly supports any effort to preserve and protect the historic Columbus Statue,” Governor Andrew Cuomo’s officer said in a statement provided to CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer. “‎We will continue to work with the Italian American community to do just that — while also honoring the legacy of the indigenous people who have made tremendous contributions to New York.”

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