VDARE.com has repeatedly argued that the War On Christmas is ultimately a War On The West, and the Leftist city council of Charlottesville VA just showed that the same is true of the War on Confederate Monuments by voting to remove a 1919 statue of iconic American explorers Lewis and Clark along with Sacagewea, the female Shoshone guide on their famous expedition [Cville Votes to Remove Lewis and Clark Statue, by Sandy Hausman, WVTF, November 19, 2019].
The claim, as in the equally outrageous case of Pittsburgh’s monument to its native son, Stephen Foster: The portrayal of Sacagewea, a Person of Color, was insufficiently adulatory. So the coalition of the perpetually aggrieved hoked up the usual propaganda campaign to get rid of the century-old monument. The lawless attack on Robert E. Lee’s statue in 2017 was only a beginning. The war on the Historic American Nation and its achievements, and history itself, continues in the hometown of Thomas Jefferson.
No one ever thought the bronze statue is offensive, and they likely don’t think so now because it isn’t. The famous explorers stand, gazing into the distance, while the Shoshone woman sits at their feet and bends forward. They’re looking at the Pacific Ocean from some windy promontory. It looks about right to me. In the language of statuary, she is important enough to be included in the tableau, but not as important as the leaders of the expedition. She is also sensible enough not to stand up on the edge of a cliff.
No matter, the statue had to go.
To give the campaign a predetermined decision a boost, the city council paid to bring four kinswomen of the Indian heroine to Charlottesville to pronounce an official anathema [Charlottesville City Council debates Sacajawea statue and future holidays, by Brianna Hamblin, WHSV, June 18, 2019]. The original idea was to spend $75,000 on a commission to recommend removing the statue, but that might have allowed undesirables to interfere, and so the council staged its own little Wild West Show— without the cowboys, of course.
The Indian women opened the performance with a smudging ceremony, as WTVF’s Hausman reported, “to rid the area of negative energy and invite harmony.” Then Emma George, speaking on behalf of her ancestress, talked about her feelings, the most important consideration in any discussion involving Persons of Color. Surprisingly, even after all the smudging, those feelings were not harmonious or energetically positive.
ICYMI: Last week, Charlottesville City Councilors voted to direct city staff to create a plan to remove the Lewis and Clark statue on W. Main Street that descendants of Sacagawea say is the worst depiction of their ancestor they've ever seen. https://t.co/2n0hMWZ3Q0— The Daily Progress (@DailyProgress) November 18, 2019
“‘This morning I went out there to look at that statue,’ she said, choking back tears,” as Hausman wrote. “It did not make me feel good at all. It was humiliating.”
Rose Ann Abrahamson, who claims descent from Sacagawea’s brother, Chief Cameahwait, shared her feelings with the Washington Post on seeing the monument in 2009.
“It is totally dehumanizing. I see Sacagawea in a position almost animalistic, like a pet,” Abrahamson said in a phone interview from her home on the Fort Hall Reservation in Idaho. “If you truly understand our American history ... you would understand that this depiction is not the truth. It is one made of ignorance. It is one made with a mind that believes people of color are less than. And that women are less than.”
[Charlottesville votes to remove another statue, and more controversy follows, by Joe Heim, November 29, 2019]
Well, Miss Abrahamson, Sacagawea joined the Corps of Discovery because she was one of expedition member Toussaint Charbonneau’s two wives, the other being Otter Woman. Just as any obedient squaw would go along with her Indian husband, Sacagewea, as “Charbonneau’s woman,” went with Lewis and Clark.
Abundant contemporary literature documents the status of Indian women. To say equalitarian ideology was not part of the Red Man’s worldview is to put it mildly. Acknowledging that fact does not demean Sacagawea, who undoubtedly deserves much credit for the success of the expedition, arguably as much as Lewis’ Girandoni repeating air rifle that so awed the western tribes [The Airgun of Meriwether Lewis, by Philip Schreier, American Rifleman, April 21, 2011].
Want to hear more feelings? Sure you do!
“I can say for myself, it did bring shame. It made me feel sadness and worthlessness, and that’s not how I was brought up,” Dustina Abrahamson, one of Abrahamson’s daughters, said as she struggled to put her emotions into words [City Council votes to remove Lewis-Clark-Sacagawea statue, by Nolan Stout, DailyProgress.com, November 15, 2019].
Still, at least one of the Indians was better disposed toward the explorers than Nikuyah Walker, Charlottesville’s first black woman mayor (and not one of Sacagawea’s descendants). Perhaps recalling that Clark stood up for Sacagawea against her abusive husband and raised her sons as his own, Dustina’s sister, Willow, allowed that she could tolerate a monument of Lewis and Clark if Sacagawea were depicted as their equal.
Not so for Mayor Walker. “It would be a challenge for me,” she was quoted by DailyProgress’ Stout as saying, to retain any memorial to the explorers because of how mean all those white guys were to the African Americans.
And another Indian did not share Willow’s forbearance. Anthony Guy Lopez, “an enrolled member of the Crow Creek Sioux tribe in South Dakota,” urged that “our work is not done” until the University of Virginia removes its statue of the other Clark, George Rogers Clark, the Albemarle County Revolutionary War hero and “Conqueror of the Old Northwest” [Local petition calls for U.Va. to remove George Rogers Clark statue, by Bridget Starrs, August 2, 2019].
Clearly, their work will never be done. But the bronze scalps of Lewis and Clark must serve for now.
This ponyless dog-and-pony show brings to mind an episode in the adventurous life of the mountain man and native Virginian James Beckwourth, right, a contemporary of Richmonder Jim Bridger and Hugh Glass, the grizzly fighter. Working for the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, Beckwourth lived among the Crow Indians and became a chief because of his prowess in battle.
In his colorful (and possibly somewhat imaginative) memoir, he recalled the frenzy of mourning that attended the death of a Crow at the hands of another tribe [The Life And Adventures Of James P. Beckwourth, by T. D. Bonner, 1856, Chapter 13] . The women wailed day and night and cut themselves until Beckwourth could bear it no more and led a punitive expedition. When his warriors returned with scalps, the women rejoiced and danced the scalp dance. [Beckwourth, Chapter 31]
Naturally, this cycle repeated endlessly. In those simpler times, the Crows considered the case closed—until the women of the other tribe goaded their men into exacting their revenge in turn.
Today, alas, the range of offenses that incite a spasm of wailing is unlimited.
The true story of the interaction of white settlers with the indigenous people of America is a fascinating study in human nature and the pains of diversity. Contemporary accounts are worth reading.
As Ann Coulter observed in her Thanksgiving article, and as Beckwourth reported from personal experience, the Indians of old were savages who loved warfare and torture but also exhibited traits the white man admired: courage, hardiness, extraordinary skill at hunting and tracking, and above all a strong sense of personal honor. By contrast, the histrionic PC Indians on display in Charlottesville are pitiful tools of our Leftist Ruling Class.
But let’s return to the condemned statue. Back in 2009, the city placed an “apology plaque” by the monument. Predictably, it failed to placate the implacable [Charlottesville to Hear From Native Americans in Dispute Over Statue of Sacagawea, by Fred Lucas, Daily Signal, October 1, 2019].
Truth is, even if Sacagawea had been omitted from the original sculpture, the same vandals would have made up a different excuse for taking it down. They seethe with rage that the wicked slaveholder Thomas Jefferson is inextricably associated with the once-southern town of Charlottesville, but they do not yet have the power to wipe him off the map and raze Monticello—yet
So, they must content themselves with bumping off his friends Lewis and Clark, whose families also owned slaves. That Indians regularly enslaved other Indians and blacks in those days is of course not relevant.
The city has determined to erect a new statue of Sacagawea, without those bad white men, and to consign the 1919 monument to a small private museum.
Historic Americans must relearn the history these vandals are so eager to erase, and start speaking up to preserve it.
Barton Cockey, MD [Email him] is an American native. His latest novel The Sacred Fury is a darkly humorous tale of curious happenings in Baltimore in the very near future.