BEMIDJI, Minn. (AP) — Paul Bunyan was a huge part of Nik Nerburn's childhood. His first school was Paul Bunyan Elementary in Bemidji. As a teen, he hung out at the Paul Bunyan mall.
And now, after a decade away from Bemidji, Nerburn has returned to his hometown to finish a documentary on the ax-wielding figure in plaid.
Nerburn tells Minnesota Public Radio News that to him, Paul Bunyan represents racism, capitalism and patriarchy. He says he started his project in hopes of getting Paul Bunyan statues torn down.
But now his view has softened. In a rough cut of the documentary, he suggests there's a difference between history and heritage, and Paul Bunyan is simply heritage.
He says people love Paul. And now, his goal is to simply "complicate" the figure.
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