U.S. Sen. James Lankford has announced on his government web site that he has submitted a resolution to remove Andrew Jackson’s image from the twenty-dollar bill because of the former president’s mistreatment of American Indians in the nineteenth century.
— indianz.com (@indianz) January 21, 2016
I’m couching the language here a bit and providing clear reference to links because, frankly, it’s almost difficult to believe Lankford, an ultra conservative, would make such a political move, which is long overdue and will definitely please liberals and SHOULD please conservatives as well. I don’t think I’ve ever agreed with Lankford on a single issue before.
The resolution is sure to meet with disapproval by some conservatives.
The announcement has received little coverage by the corporate media so far. American Indian news outlets, however, covered the announcement widely. Lankford is a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.
Jackson, the nation’s seventh president who served from 1829-1937, is remembered for his support and implementation of the Indian Removal Act in 1830. The act forced American Indians over several years to move from their ancestral lands in the south to what is now Oklahoma. The purpose was to open up land for what textbooks call white “settlers.” Thousands of Indians died in what become known as the “Trail of Tears” in their journey to the state.
The resolution states: “Whereas the forced removal of American Indians by Andrew Jackson and the subsequent inhumane settlement of Indian lands represent a major blight on the proud history of the United States . . .”
Lankford’s resolution also calls for Jackson’s image to be replaced by “ the placement of a significant woman from the history of the United States . . . “ As Lankford noted, the White House administration has already called for a woman’s image to replace Alexander Hamilton on the ten-dollar bill.
Jackson was a slave-owning plantation owner and perhaps the most racist president in our history. In the 1970s and beyond, American Indian activists and scholars began revising earlier and rosier accounts of Jackson’s life with reality. For example, in qualifying removing Indians from their lands, he once said it would, “. . . perhaps cause them gradually…to cast off their savage habits and become an interesting, civilized, and Christian community ….” That’s an interesting sentence, isn’t it?
Obviously, the racist history of our country is, as the resolution states, our great “blight” and burden. American Indians were treated horribly by white people, who stole their lands and often killed them indiscriminately, and that is a fact. We can’t undo the past, but we can remember history accurately. We can choose to honor leaders in the past based on basic concepts that celebrate shared values, such as basic human decency.
Lankford deserves credit for introducing the resolution, and I hope he sees it through.
— NativeNewsOnline (@Native_NewsNet) January 22, 2016