The words "Expect Us" are spray painted on the base of the Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Park as Indigenous and environmental activists protest in front of the White House in Washington, Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. Andrew Harnik/AP
A statue of former President Andrew Jackson outside of the White House was vandalized Monday during a protest over a pipeline.
"Expect us" was written on the statue's base and part of a chant protesters shouted against a pipeline in Minnesota. The full chant, "respect us or expect us," protests Line 3, which runs through lands owned by Indigenous tribes. According to the protesters' website, the concern is that the pipeline could spill and ruin some of the land Indigenous people use to farm.
Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which took land away from the Natives and gave it to the states. The act led to the "Trail of Tears," in which approximately 4,000 Cherokees died as they were forced to vacate their land. Jackson was no longer the president during the Trail of Tears, though it was the direct enforcement of the Removal Act.
The protest was brought to the nation's capital on Columbus Day, which has become a contentious day for some, especially among Indigenous peoples, who view Christopher Columbus as a colonizer as opposed to a discoverer.
Les Begay, a member of Diné Nation, said it is important to focus on celebrating the Indigenous culture.
“Not honoring Indigenous peoples on this day just continues to erase our history, our contributions and the fact that we were the first inhabitants of this country,” Begay said.
President Joe Biden last week proclaimed Monday "Indigenous Peoples' Day," becoming the first president to do so.
"On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we honor America’s first inhabitants and the Tribal Nations that continue to thrive today," Biden said in his proclamation. "I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities. I also direct that the flag of the United States be displayed on all public buildings on the appointed day in honor of our diverse history and the Indigenous peoples who contribute to shaping this Nation."
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Original Author: Misty Severi