June 09, 2008

America's shrine to hypocrisy

Tim Giago:  Mt. Rushmore through Native eyes[I]f you look at those carvings through the eyes of Native Americans, you may see them as you have never seen them before.

Teddy Roosevelt talked about taking the remaining Indian lands by war. He said, “It is a primeval warfare and it is waged as war was waged in the ages of bronze and of iron. All the merciful humanity that even war has gained during the last two thousand years is lost. It is a warfare where no pity is shown to non-combatants.”

Abraham Lincoln gave the go-ahead to the U. S. Army to hang 38 Dakota warriors in Minnesota in the largest mass hanging in the history of America. Thomas Jefferson, a slave owner, signed on to the Louisiana Purchase, a deal that took millions of acres of land from many Indian tribes without their approval, including South Dakota, and in the end, caused misery, suffering, death and poverty that is felt by the Native Americans of this region even to this day. And we should not forget that the man known as the father of this country (at least to the white people), George Washington, ordered the extermination of the Indian people of New England. He was also a slave holder.

Native American activist Russell Means has labeled Mount Rushmore, The Shrine of Hypocrisy. In this instance he speaks for many Native Americans. You must also remember that Native Americans had a history long before the coming of the white man. Most Indians do not consider the signors of the Declaration of Independence to be their “Founding Fathers.”
Comment:  I've talked many times of how "honoring" Indians by making them mascots is a false honor. This posting should remind us that the US government, speaking for all Americans, would never honor our Indian forefathers the way it's honored our Anglo-Saxon forefathers.

The only way the Crazy Horse memorial could get built is the way it's been done: in the middle of nowhere with private financing. Americans would howl in protest if the government tried to honor Sitting Bull or Geronimo with an Indian monument near the Washington Monument or the Lincoln Memorial.

For more on the subject, see Best Indian Monuments to Topple.


dmarks said...

"Abraham Lincoln gave the go-ahead to the U. S. Army to hang 38 Dakota warriors in Minnesota in the largest mass hanging in the history of America."

I had a little discussion with The Local Crank on this. He pointed out that in Lincoln's favor, he was handed a list of 303 to be exeuted, and he reduced the list by nine-tenths... perhaps a moderating influence.

On the other hand, it was Lincoln's federal government which could not be bothered to meet treaty obligations and give the required food to the Dakota in Minnesota that is usually given as the major reason for the uprising.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Um, er, uh, the many-stories tall Native American warrior statue still is to be built near Tulsa (no longer IN Tulsa) and it has Oklahoma State Board of Tourism funding behind it. Yet, there seems to be no public outcry here, only public wonderment why it is taking so long to be built...
All Best
Russ Bates

Rob said...

I'll post something on "The American" statue for you, Russ.