A statue of a young Abraham Lincoln has been damaged with crimson paint and phrases referring to Native American nations’ problems.
Since 1997, the city of Chicago has donated the statue to Senn Park in Chicago’s Edgewater area.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, locals in the park discovered the monument smeared in red paint with the phrases “COLONIZER” and “LAND BACK.” The vandals may possibly have inscribed “Dakota 38” a probable reference to the 38 Dakota Sioux members murdered on Lincoln’s orders following the US-Dakota conflict in 1862, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The statue was one of many in the city reviewed as part of a commission formed in the aftermath of 2020 protests targeting statues of contentious personalities. The debate regarding prior American presidents has been particularly heated.
A local commission recommended that a statue of Christopher Columbus be removed, while the same commission also requested that the Young Lincoln statue be reviewed further.
However, Lincoln, best remembered for his work in the abolition of legal slavery in the United States, has recently come under fire for his role in the Sioux revolt.
During the height of the Civil War, the United States and numerous bands of eastern Dakota fought for six weeks in southwestern Minnesota when four young Dakota men attacked and killed five settlers.
The fight claimed the lives of 358 settlers, 77 US soldiers, and 29 volunteer militia men. Although the exact number of Dakota casualties is uncertain, Lincoln remitted the sentences of 303 of 498 captured Dakota men, allowing the execution of 38 Dakota prisoners.
The Young Lincoln statue is the second to be attacked in Chicago in the last six weeks. In early October, anonymous vandals spray-painted a statue of Lincoln in Chicago’s Lincoln Park, stating “Dethrone the colonizers,” “Land back!” and “Avenge the Dakota 38.”
The group also distributed lists of the 38 Dakota men, claiming that it wished to “tear down the myth of Lincoln the great liberator.”
No one has been arrested by Chicago police, but investigators will continue to investigate.
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