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Lincoln Park, Old Town

Abraham Lincoln Statue In Lincoln Park Vandalized On Indigenous Peoples’ Day: ‘Dethrone The Colonizers’

An anonymous group vandalized the Standing Lincoln statue in hopes of drawing attention to Indigenous Peoples' Day and the 16th president's role in executing 38 Dakota men.

The Abraham Lincoln statue was vandalized to raise attention for the former president's role in executing 38 men who participated in the Sioux Uprising.
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LINCOLN PARK — An Abraham Lincoln statue in Lincoln Park was vandalized on Indigenous Peoples’ Day over the president’s role in the execution of 38 Dakota men in 1862.

About 12:30 p.m. Monday, an anonymous group spray-painted the statue, police said. They wrote “Dethrone the colonizers,” “Avenge the Dakota 38” and “Land Back” with blue spray paint. Red paint was poured over the statue.

In an emailed statement from the anonymous group, the organizers said they were honoring 38 men who were publicly hanged for participating in the Sioux Uprising during the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.

The uprising was in response to the U.S. government’s refusal to pay the Dakota tribes in exchange for land they were forced to cede. The Sioux tribe faced starvation and other hardships due to a harsh winter, crop failure and being forced onto two small reservations, the activists said.

Lincoln signed an execution order authorizing the men be killed, the largest one-day mass execution in the country’s history. Paper with the names of the 38 men who were executed were posted onto the statue’s base Monday.

The group is looking to “tear down the myth of Lincoln as great liberator and expose his complicity in the genocide of Indigenous peoples and theft of their lands,” it said.

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“Land Back!” was spray painted on the side of the Standing Lincoln statue on Monday.

The Standing Lincoln statue was completed in 1887 by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who also created the Seated Lincoln sculpture in Grant Park.

The Standing Lincoln was recently reviewed by the Chicago Monuments Project, created to evaluate the city’s statues and public art to determine which ones are offensive or do not present an equitable historical view.

The committee’s final report suggested a plaque be placed by the statue to add broader historical context behind Lincoln.

The anonymous group that targeted the statue said they hope to expose other “colonizer monuments” across Chicago and the United States, including those of Christopher Columbus.

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