Forcing the government to do their part in removing statues to white supremacy

The event, HEY! Come Get Your Racist Uncle, Remove Monuments to White Supremacy in Iowa, was held at the Iowa State Capitol yesterday, July 4, 2020.

Join us on July 4th from 1-3 pm to rally at the Iowa State Capitol and demand that monuments to white supremacy be removed in Iowa. Organizers will present Iowa legislators with a letter demanding that all racist, misogynistic, homo/transphobic, whitewashed historical depictions be removed from all state grounds and facilities. Local leaders will be speaking, but we will also provide time for testimony from the crowd.

COVID-19 is still an issue and we ask all who attend to wear masks and stand 6 feet apart. If you would like to testify and have access to a bullhorn or mic, please bring it.

In response to police brutality and racial injustice, monuments to white supremacy are being removed all over the country but People of the World Majority are being forced to put their safety on the line to carry out this long-overdue purge. Folx have been shot, arrested, and targeted. Now, #45 has signed an executive order to arrest anyone who vandalizes, removes a statue or threatens federal property and jail them for up to 10 years.

One of the most important things I’ve learned about justice is I need to listen deeply, and follow the leadership of those who are impacted by the injustice. The leadership for this event comes from my friends Christine Nobiss and Donnielle Wanatee. I am so glad the event was video taped, so you can hear the wisdom of their words.

It is a lengthy video. I hope you might listen to the first few minutes, at least. You can hear Christine talk about the purpose of this gathering. And you can hear the wonderful prayers of Donnielle. When we were on the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March together, September, 2018, we stopped for prayers every time we walked over the Dakota Access Pipeline and often it was Donnielle who gave the prayers. They were some of the most significant parts of the March for me.

Des Moines Black Lives Matter protesters congregated at the Iowa State Capitol on the Fourth of July for a demonstration led by Black and Indigenous activists calling for the removal of “monuments to white supremacy” in Iowa.

The protest comes after weeks of protesters taking down statues of confederate leaders, slave owners, segregationists and others near government buildings across the United States.

1:31 p.m.: Protesters gather to call for the removal of statues which “represent colonialism, white supremacy and oppression” on the Iowa State Capitol’s grounds. Organizers plan to present Iowa Rep. Ako Abdul Samad, who has been an active presence in the Des Moines Black Lives Matter movement, a letter calling for the statues’ removal.

1:38 p.m.: Indigenous organizers address the crowd of nearly 250 people gathered outside the Capitol. Donielle Wanatee, a Meskwaki organizer with Seeding Sovereignty and Indigenous Iowa, said she had expected resistance to the idea of removing statues.

1:56 p.m.: Wanatee and Nobiss address the crowd. Wanatee said the idea to hold a demonstration to take down these statues had been planned for weeks, but only recently did organizers decide to hold it on the Fourth of July.

2:01 p.m.: Donielle Wanatee, a Meskwaki organizer with Seeding Sovreignty and Indigenous Iowa, said she and Christine Nobiss, another indigenous organizer, have received multiple threats of violence from white supremacists in the past few days.

“They threatened time bring their guns and told us not to bring our children today,” she said. “But I brought my daughter today.”

“The Declaration of Independence doesn’t apply to everyone,” Wanatee said. “Why not use this as a day to utilize our First Amendment rights?” 

“We knew we would have pushback, not only by police, but by white supremacists,” she said. “Because this is their holy day, and these are their holy relics.”

Activists call for removal of statues at Iowa State Capitol in Fourth of July protest by Robin Opsahl, Maya Miller, and Philip Joens, Des Moines Register, July 4, 2020

Pioneer statue, Des Moines Capitol, photo by Jeff Kisling

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.

Racial justice protests are happening across the country during this Fourth of July weekend to challenge acts of police brutality perpetrated against Black people. These much-needed actions highlight not only modern-day police abuse but also the sordid history of white supremacy and racial violence in this country. Instead of celebrating a false narrative of American struggle for liberty and justice for all, we should be out in the streets protesting against the continued killings by the police of Black people and we should wrestle with this country’s true history of racial violence and oppression that has led us to this much needed reckoning.

Racial violence is embedded in the fabric of this country’s history. From Columbus first bringing enslaved Africans to the Caribbean (1490s) in the newly “discovered” lands; to the Spanish-controlled settlement first using slave labor on the mainland of North America (1526) in what would later become South Carolina, bringing in 100 enslaved Africans, all who shortly after revolted and escaped; to British colonial enslavement/indentured servitude (1619) starting in Jamestown that by the 1660s grew into the system of chattel slavery that would remain in this land for following 200 years. Racialized control and violence (branding, rape, separation of families, whipping) over Africans, later to be re-classified by many different names, has been the common thread of history for Black people in this country and hemisphere.

The Fourth of July Must Be a Day of Protest Against White Supremacy by Kamau Franklin, TRUTHOUT, July 4, 2020

Also on this July 4th weekend, Native Americans blocked the entrance to the Black Hills monument, where the president was schedule to speak. My friends Foxy and Alton Onefeather were there.

My live feed from today. Got maced and I would do it again helping to defend the Black Hills. Trump’s minion cops are bullies, that cop literally targeted us. Came in maced us then hid behind his military security. I apologize to my elders for my language in advanced.

Foxy Onefeather
Image may contain: text that says 'BHLEGALFUND.ORG DEMANDS Close Mount Rushmore as a monument Black Hills Bail and Legal Defense Fund On July 3rd, 2020 Indigenous People and our allies were arrested in the process of defending our sacred lands in the Black Hills. Acts of courage and civil disobedience resulted in arrests and criminal charges. We were protesting the desecration of sacred lands that were stolen from our people. FISCALLY SPONSORED BY NDN NDN COLLECTIVE'

This entry was posted in #NDAPL, decolonize, First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March, Indigenous, Native Americans, Seeding Sovereignty, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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