• By The Financial District


Indigenous People’s Day 2020 is a day not only for acts of mourning and resistance, but it also embodies the spirit of uprising.

On October 11, 2020, also called “Indigenous People’s Day of Rage,” participants around the country take part in actions such as de-monumenting — the toppling of statues of individuals dedicated to racial nation-building, Charles Sepulveda reported for Truthout.

In response to Indigenous-led efforts that demanded land back and the toppling of statues, Catholic Church leaders in Oregon and California deemed it necessary to perform exorcisms, thereby casting Indigenous protest as demonic.

The toppled statues included President Abraham Lincoln, President Theodore Roosevelt and Father Junípero Serra, who founded California’s mission system (1769-1834) and was canonized into sainthood by the Catholic Church and Pope Francis in 2015.

What do these leaders whose statues were toppled have in common? They perpetrated and promoted devastating violence against Native peoples. Abraham Lincoln was responsible for the largest mass execution in United States history when 38 Dakota were hanged in 1862 after being found guilty for their involvement in what is known as the “Minnesota Uprising.”

Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech in 1886 in New York that would have made today’s white supremacists blush when he declared: “I don’t go as far as to think that the only good Indian is the dead Indian, but I believe nine out of every ten are…” This was not his only foray in promoting racial genocide. Junípero Serra is known for having committed cruel punishments against the Indians of California and enslaved them as part of Spain’s genocidal conquest. Abraham Lincoln was responsible for the largest mass execution in United States history.