For Immediate Release
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
Obama, Lincoln and Native Americans
JAY WINTER NIGHTWOLF
Nightwolf is host of "The Nightwolf Show" on WPFW Radio in Washington, D.C. and a member of the Echota Cherokee nation.
Author of the forthcoming books "Home of the Brave" and "Myth and
Empire: Indigenous History of the United States," Dunbar-Ortiz said
today: "President Barack Obama, speaking at the Annual Lincoln Banquet
in Springfield, Illinois on the occasion of Lincoln's 200th birthday,
asked why it was that Lincoln was so devoted to maintaining the Union,
answering that the United States had always been more than 13 colonies
or a collection of states, rather the United States. Obama observes
that Lincoln, despite being commander-in-chief of an ongoing war, made
sure that white settlers had land by creating the Homestead Act; Obama
also observes that Lincoln himself came from a frontier white settler
family and understood that settlers needed land.
"Obama did not mention where that land came from, who were the
dispossessed owners of that land. In 1862, Lincoln ordered the largest
mass execution in U.S. history: More than 300 indigenous Dakota farmers
in Minnesota who resisted the white settlers and squatted on their land
were rounded up by the military and condemned to death. Lincoln ordered
that 10 percent of them, chosen at random, should be executed. During
Lincoln's term, the Union army invaded Navajo country and force-marched
10,000 Navajos from their alpine homeland to the waterless desert area
of southeast New Mexico to be held in a concentration camp where nearly
half of them died. Then, there was the massacre of unarmed, surrendered
Cheyenne at Sand Creek in southern Colorado."
Dunbar-Ortiz's books include "Roots of Resistance: History of Land
Tenure in New Mexico," "Indians of the Americas" and "The Great Sioux
Nation." She is professor emeritus in the Department of Ethnic Studies
at California State University East Bay in Hayward, California.
Text of Obama's speech is here.
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