The Take Down The Chief petition continues to circulate. The “Chief” represents an insult to Indigenous people and reinforces racial stereotypes. This is a legacy to white settler colonialism, not Native Americans.
White supremacy thrives in our institutions. Not far from the surface, we find beliefs and practices maintaining the premise of white dominance. This petition joins the protests against symbols of racism, slavery, genocide and conquest. The dismantling of racist symbols is the first step in destroying white supremacy.
White people need to stop perpetuating manifestations of racial superiority. We need to study and learn about the impact of racism on people of color. With this petition, we are not trying to destroy the past history, but place it in an accurate historical context. We need to learn our true history and not create clusters of myths.
In the U.S., the first citizens were only propertied white men. The original people and guardians of this continent and its environment were Indigenous people. The colonial settlers occupied and stole their land. Some Indigenous people survived their genocidal massacres.
Congress passed the Indian Citizenship Act in 1924. Native Americans weren’t guaranteed the right to vote in every state until 1962. So calling Native Americans, America’s first citizens is a misrepresentation of our true history.
The Durango Herald’s standing with removal of the chief (“‘Chief’ had his day,” editorial, June 23) is appreciated.