November 28, 2020
Monuments were vandalized in four U.S. states over the Thanksgiving holiday, and several were marked with graffiti referring to the LANDBACK campaign for “decolonization” that seeks to return lands to indigenous people.
In one city, businesses were also targeted and covered in anti-Thanksgiving, anti-capitalist messages.
What are the details?
A statue of President Abraham Lincoln was splashed with red paint in a park in Spokane, Washington, while in Minneapolis, a statue of President George Washington was toppled.
Fox News reported that a group called the Pan-Indigenous People’s Liberation claimed responsibility for damaging the monument to President Washington, along with the defacing of the “Pioneer Statue” in another Minneapolis park that was graffitied with messages that read, “no more genocide,” decolonize,” and “land back.”
Activists in Chicago launched an unsuccessful attempt at toppling a statue of President William McKinley, but left it covered in red spray paint, according to the Daily Mail.
In Portland, Oregon, several businesses were hit by vandals. Pictures of the damage show broken storefront windows and multiple buildings sprayed with the words “land back,” “stolen land,” “no thanks, no giving,” and “colonizer.”
Extensive damage was also done to a monument in the city.
USA Today reported:
A monument at Portland’s Lone Fir Cemetery, dedicated in 1903 to the veterans of the Civil War, Mexican, Spanish, and Indian wars, was tagged with anti-colonialism graffiti and its statue toppled and sprayed with red paint.
Photos of the vandalism spread on social media on Thanksgiving Day, though police did not immediately confirm the reports.
Good morning to everyone but colonizers. Especially this one who seems to be having a particularly rough morning do… https://t.co/xoFR8pfj18
— Alissa Azar (@Alissa Azar)1606408592.0
The LANDBACK campaign, a project of the NDN Collective, lists four demands on its website’s “manifesto”:
Dismantle — white supremacy structures that forcefully removed us from our Lands and continue to keep our Peoples in oppression.
a. Bureau of Land Management, National Parks Service
Defund — white supremacy and the mechanisms and systems that enforce it and disconnect us from stewardship of the Land.
a. Police, military industrial complex, Border Patrol, ICE
Return — All public lands back into Indigenous hands.
Consent — Moving us out of an era of consultation and into a new era of policy around Free and Prior Informed Consent.
The closure of Mount Rushmore, return of that land and all public lands in the Black Hills, South Dakota is our cornerstone battle, from which we will build out this campaign. Not only does Mount Rushmore sit in the heart of the sacred Black Hills, but it is an international symbol of white supremacy and colonization.