News Release

Obama, Lincoln and Native Americans

JAY WINTER NIGHTWOLF
Nightwolf is host of “The Nightwolf Show” on WPFW Radio in Washington, D.C. and a member of the Echota Cherokee nation.
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ROXANNE DUNBAR-ORTIZ
Author of the forthcoming books Home of the Brave and Myth and Empire: Indigenous History of the United States, Dunbar-Ortiz said today: “President Barack Obama, speaking at the Annual Lincoln Banquet in Springfield, Illinois on the occasion of Lincoln’s 200th birthday, asked why it was that Lincoln was so devoted to maintaining the Union, answering that the United States had always been more than 13 colonies or a collection of states, rather the United States. Obama observes that Lincoln, despite being commander-in-chief of an ongoing war, made sure that white settlers had land by creating the Homestead Act; Obama also observes that Lincoln himself came from a frontier white settler family and understood that settlers needed land.

“Obama did not mention where that land came from, who were the dispossessed owners of that land. In 1862, Lincoln ordered the largest mass execution in U.S. history: More than 300 indigenous Dakota farmers in Minnesota who resisted the white settlers and squatted on their land were rounded up by the military and condemned to death. Lincoln ordered that 10 percent of them, chosen at random, should be executed. During Lincoln’s term, the Union army invaded Navajo country and force-marched 10,000 Navajos from their alpine homeland to the waterless desert area of southeast New Mexico to be held in a concentration camp where nearly half of them died. Then, there was the massacre of unarmed, surrendered Cheyenne at Sand Creek in southern Colorado.”

Dunbar-Ortiz’s books include Roots of Resistance: History of Land Tenure in New Mexico, Indians of the Americas and The Great Sioux Nation. She is professor emeritus in the Department of Ethnic Studies at California State University East Bay in Hayward, California.
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Text of Obama’s speech is here.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167