Monuments to White Supremacy July 4, 2020

Following are excerpts from a blog post I wrote about the gathering on July 4 last year related to white supremacy and monuments to white supremacy.

Statues to Confederate soldiers are monuments to White supremacy. These White men committed treason by seceding from the United States, and going to war to preserve the institution of slavery. They were clearly saying White culture is superior to all others.

Another campaign of White supremacy was the theft of Native peoples lands and the cultural genocide from forced assimilation of more than 100,000 Indigenous children. This occurred in White run boarding/residential schools and was the epitome of White supremacy. Forcing native children to give up their ways, and try to learn how to fit into White society. The trauma related to forced assimilation that affected the children and their relatives has been passed from generation to generation and is felt by those living today.

Systemic racism in the U.S. today is the interconnected web of ways White supremacy continues in our society.

As I have learned more about Indigenous peoples, it is clear to me we would not be in this rapid spiral into deepening climate chaos is we had lived within our ecological boundaries, as Indigenous peoples have always done. Another way we are all suffer because of White supremacy.

Besides the Confederate statues, pioneer monuments are also displays of White supremacy.

The earliest pioneer monuments were put up in midwestern and western cities such as Des Moines, Iowa and San Francisco, California. They date from the 1890s and early 1900s, as whites settled the frontier and pushed American Indians onto reservations.

Those statues showed white men claiming land and building farms and cities in the West. They explicitly celebrated the dominant white view of the Wild West progressing from American Indian “savagery” to white “civilization.”

Think Confederate monuments are racist? Consider pioneer monuments by Cynthia Prescott, The Conversation.
Pioneer statue, Iowa State Capitol grounds, Des Moines, Iowa

My friends Christine Nobiss and Donnielle Wanatee organized the event at the Iowa State Capitol on July 4th, 2020, regarding removing the Pioneer statue on the grounds there.

Following are rough notes I took from Christine Nobiss’s remarks.

Christine Nobiss: As an academic, as an Indigenous person, as an organizer railing against monuments to White supremacy, whether they be statues, murals or entire buildings.

As an organizer, rail against statues, murals, buildings, spaces
Uprisings George Floyd
Movement to taking these statues down
Concerns about safety of my people, the safety of black people, people of the world majority when taking statues down.

Is it our job to take them down?

In reality, in the best sense of how all this is occurring, the best thing would be that they would just be taken down. The states would see these as human rights violations, symbols of hate speech that leave out and single out portions of the populations and make them feel unwelcoming spaces.

So it wold be the duty of the state and Federal governments to see these as symbols that glorify of slavery, ethnic cleansing, land theft and so many violations of human rights.

But that’s not happening, is it?

So it is, again, up to people on the ground to do it, to make this happen.
But I don’t want people to get hurt.

I would like to see legislation, I would like to see us push for the ancestors of these people who put them up take them down.

They put them up, they should take them down.

S.A. Lawrence-Welch: I have to concur. I believe in the power of the people. We need to start holding the government accountable for the atrocities that have occurred, are still occurring, and these monuments that remind us day after day that this has happened. You know that taking them down we are not erasing history, we are acknowledging the actual stains on our history as a nation.

It is incredibly uplifting to see this uprising happen, but to decentralize the White superiority narrative I think that we need to work as people of the world majority, especially in these United States, to dismantle the government as its known now by influencing and having them follow our lead.

Christine: I am not saying I want to rely on them. I’m saying lets make them do it.
I would love the nation states to recognize all the wrongdoings that are perpetuated and how they are responsible for the daily historical trauma of people that have to look at these and be reminded of what’s happened in this county. And look our whitewashed history because that history is not the truth, that is absolutely not the truth of this country was founded at the point of a gun for the sake of free land and free labor. That little sentence just basically barely describes the amount the violence and terror that people have had to deal with for centuries. All of these statues are monuments to that. They are basically irresponsible acts to put these up. Its not the truth and I believe they are human rights violations. They are symbols of hate speech.

Photo gallery from this event: Monuments 7/4/2020 – LANDBACK Friends


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