Updated Oct 12, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Protesters topple statues in "Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage"

A protester stands over a toppled statue of President Theodore Roosevelt during an Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage protest on October 11, 2020 in Portland, Oregon.

A protester stands over a toppled statue of President Theodore Roosevelt during an Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage protest in Portland, Oregon, on Sunday night. Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images

Anti-colonization demonstrators in Portland, Oregon, pulled down statues of the late Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt ahead of the Columbus Day federal holiday, per the Oregonian.

Driving the news: Sunday night's action that also saw Oregon Historical Society's building vandalized was part of a movement that organizers called, "Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage." The protests continued elsewhere in the U.S. Monday, with monuments defaced or torn down in Chicago and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

  • Portland Police declared a riot and later made three arrests following the unrest.

Of note: The Portland demonstrators sprayed the bottom of his statute the words "Dakota 38," in reference to the number of Dakota Native Americans executed in 1862 after being accused of slaying white settlers.

  • The hangings, which occurred while Lincoln was president, marked the biggest mass execution in U.S. history, per the New York Times.
  • Roosevelt supported eugenics, the NYT notes. He was quoted as saying, "I don't go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of 10 are, and I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the 10th."

Zoom in: In Santa Fe, New Mexico, protesters pulled down an obelisk honoring what the inscription called "heroes" who died battling "savage Indians," the Albuquerque Journal reports. Two men were arrested over the protest.

  • In Chicago, a logo statue of the Blackhawks ice hockey team depicting Native American leader Black Hawk outside the United Center was being sent for repair after it was defaced early Monday with words including "land back," per the Chicago Sun-Times.

What they're saying: Santa Fe protest organizers said in a statement to news outlets that every day is Indigenous People's Day, "and we are here to remind the world that this is, was, and always will be Indigenous [homelands], and we will do what is necessary to protect it."

The other side: President Trump did not respond to the Santa Fe or Chicago protests, but on Portland, he tweeted, "The Radical Left fools in Portland don’t want any help from real Law Enforcement which we will provide instantaneously. Vote!"

The big picture: Dozens of Confederate statues and symbols have been torn down or removed in the U.S. and around the world in response to Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality and racism this year.

  • Trump signed an executive order in June to denounce protesters who had defaced Civil War and World War II monuments.

Go deeper: Dozens of Confederate symbols removed in wake of George Floyd's death

Editor's note: This article has been updated with news of the Chicago protest.

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