Reed Lannom / The Orlando Sentinel & Indian Country Today – 2018-02-04 17:21:36
Why Just Confederates?
Many Through History Committed Atrocities
Reed Lannom, Guest Columnist / The Orlando Sentinel
(August 16, 2017) — A campaign must be started immediately to remove all statues of and monuments to US Supreme Army Gens. William T. Sherman, Ulysses S. Grant and Philip Sheridan for the following reasons:
In the 28-year span of the Plains Indian Wars from 1862 to 1890, the same top military leaders who commanded the Union Army in the Civil War were also the top military commanders in the US Army’s war of genocide against the Plains Indians.
And Abraham Lincoln cannot be given a pass, as he authorized the 1862 Pacific Railway Act, instigating a systematic program of either extermination or relocation of the Plains Indians, precipitating the Plains Indian Wars. The Pacific Railway Act, writes author Dee Brown in Hear That Lonesome Whistle Blow, “assured the fortunes of a dynasty of American families” — all of whom had deep ties to the Republican Party.
The federal railroad subsidies enriched many Republican members of Congress. Congressman Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania “received a block of Union Pacific stock in exchange for his vote” on the Pacific Railway bill, Brown wrote.
Also, Lincoln as commander in chief oversaw Union commanders Gen. John Pope and Col. John Chivington, who were responsible for the Dakota War of 1862 and the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864.
In the Plains Indian Wars, Sherman wrote to then-Supreme US Army General Grant: “We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to their extermination, men, women and children.” Later, under President Grant, Sherman’s policy was that “all the Indians will have to be killed or be maintained as a species of paupers.”; it was a policy that entailed a “racial cleansing of the land.”
In a December 18, 1890, letter to The New York Times commenting on the conclusion of the Plains Indian Wars, Sherman expressed deep regret that were it not for “civilian interference,” his army would have “gotten rid of them all” and killed every last Indian in the United States.
In their own words and actions, the most elite US military and political leaders from 1862 through 1890 prove unequivocally that the Civil War was not about defeating white supremacy; and that white supremacy, far from dying at Appomattox, was emboldened and flourished after the Civil War.
Why do the politically correct historians of today deem Southern slavery so wrong but give a pass to the Northern policy of genocide? If you are going to condemn one, you must condemn the other. Based on today’s social justice warriors’ own criteria, they should have the same loathing for Grant, Sherman and Sheridan that they have for Gen. Robert E. Lee.
After all, slaves were considered property (more valuable than land), so Southerners were not in the business of murdering them, unlike the Northern onslaught against the Plains Indians.
If we are going to pull down statues and monuments to the Confederate dead and start renaming everything of Confederate heritage, how are the US Army and men like Lincoln, Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, Stevens, George Custer and Rutherford B. Hayes, who were complicit in implementing a policy for 28 years of exterminating the Plains Indians, any different from Lee and the South?
On the one side, you had secession and slavery; on the other side, you had forced relocation to reservations and outright murder. Are you saying one is better than the other? If so, why? Based on the social justice warriors’ own standard, all statues, memorials, place names and schools erected or named in honor of Lincoln, Grant, Sherman and Sheridan should be removed or renamed.
The proponents of tearing down Confederate statues say this is a classic misdirection, and that we should stay on topic about the need to rid the nation of “racist” monuments of Confederate heritage. But that ignores the fact that the North’s top political and military leaders in the Civil War were also the top leaders who orchestrated the 28-year campaign of genocide against the Plains Indians. Both wars are intricately linked.
In its drive to erase all Confederate statues from public view, the political left has broken the covenant of mutual respect between the North and the South that reconciled the hatred of the Civil War period. The statues and memorials of the North’s top politicians and military men who were responsible for both wars and atrocities must be scrutinized as well.
If we are going to go down this road, let’s be honest with ourselves as a nation and start scrubbing clean all the names in American history who have directly or indirectly been racists and contributed to atrocities — and not just those from the South.
Reed Lannom of Winter Park is a retired business owner, historian and author.
Guaranteed to Drive Native Americans Nuts
Indian Country Today
(September 10, 2017) — Carving the faces of “founding fathers” who weren’t good for Indian policy into sacred mountains, having to walk by a monument of a man who was responsible for the death of countless Indigenous Peoples, building statues of men who killed countless Natives . . . why are there so many monuments for those who donâ€™t deserve it?
Statue of Liberty
At a time when Natives were being persecuted, France donates the Statue of Liberty to the United States. A giant statue, the National Park Service calls a “universal symbol of freedom and democracy.” Letâ€™s consider this: the 305-foot-tall statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886 and designated a National Monument in 1924.
In 1886, Geronimo was the last Chiricahua Apache to surrender; he had spent his life resisting colonization of his homeland in the Southwest. So, while the US is welcoming others, it was imprisoning this countryâ€™s Indigenous Peoples on reservations. In 1924, the Indian Citizenship Act was passed, which was yet another step by the government to assimilate the Indian population into white culture.
Facebook commenter Marie Sandvig put it quite well in regard to the Statue of Liberty being an atrocious monument: “Liberty for who, exactly?”
Not only was Mount Rushmore carved into a sacred place in the Black Hills, Natives have always questioned who the “real” founding fathers of this country are. And that is not the faces carved into the mountain.
Before anyone called it Mount Rushmore, the Sioux called the mountain Six Grandfathers. It was named Rushmore in 1884 when New York City attorney Charles E. Rushmore asked what it was called.
“From the Indian perspective, the monument at Mount Rushmore was a symbol of the dominant culture’s arrogance, racism, and spiritual insensitivity. Carving icons of presidents who were known for their insensitivity to Indian issues into a living sacred mountain would be similar to painting anti-Christian graffiti inside of a cathedral, or anti-Semitic symbols inside a synagogue,” points out a post on Native American Netroots.
In bustling New York City, Christopher Columbus — a man who took Natives as slaves and brought disease to Turtle Island — has an important city intersection named after him at Columbus Circle as well as a large monument in the center of that circle.
A marble statue of Columbus sits on top of a 70-foot granite column was created by Italian sculptor Gaetano Russo and completed in 1892 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ landing here, which was a harbinger of more death for the Indigenous Peoples here.
“Hereâ€™s a statue of Christopher Columbus,” Luis Ramos said, waving toward the center of Columbus Circle, “and there’s still a federally recognized holiday. They don’t realize the destruction still being implemented, the genocide.” Ramos was at Columbus Circle in 2012 for an Indigenous Day of Remembrance, which is held the day before Columbus Day.
Andrew Jackson Monument
Why does a man nicknamed “Indian Killer” and “Sharp Knife” deserve to have more than one monument extolling his deeds? The proponent of Indian removal also earned the top spot on our list of worst US presidents.
Monuments to this brutal president can be found in Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C. and another, albeit smaller one, marks his birthplace in Lancaster, South Carolina.
“Andrew Jackson was a wealthy slave owner and infamous Indian killer, gaining the nickname ‘Sharp Knife’ from the Cherokee,” writes Amargi on the website Unsettling America: Decolonization in Theory & Practice. “He was also the founder of the Democratic Party, demonstrating that genocide against indigenous people is a nonpartisan issue.
“His first effort at Indian fighting was waging a war against the Creeks. President Jefferson had appointed him to appropriate Creek and Cherokee lands. In his brutal military campaigns against Indians, Andrew Jackson recommended that troops systematically kill Indian women and children after massacres in order to complete the extermination.
The Creeks lost 23 million acres of land in southern Georgia and central Alabama, paving the way for cotton plantation slavery. His frontier warfare and subsequent ‘negotiations’ opened up much of the southeast US to settler colonialism.”
George Armstrong Custer Equestrian Monument
Defeated at Greasy Grass, or the Battle of Little Bighorn as itâ€™s called in history books, it’s often forgotten that Custer was the one who started that fight by attacking an Indian village. It’s just the force of Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho who finished it.
It could also be said that it is because of Custer that the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 was not abided by and the Black Hills were taken away from the Lakota. He led an expedition there in 1874 and discovered gold, which prompted the United States government to violate the treaty, take back the land and move the Lakota to reservations.
In his honor, the George Armstrong Custer Equestrian Monument was erected in 1910 in Monroe, Michigan, his childhood home. There is also a memorial to him, a bronze statue in his birthplace in New Rumley, Ohio.
This is in no way an all-inclusive list. There are hundreds of monuments around the country that should never have been built. Tell us what monuments you think shouldnâ€™t exist.
This story was originally published on July 31, 2013.
National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)
Embassy of Tribal Nations
1516 P Street NW, Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 466-7767. Fax: (202) 466-7797
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