School officials at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have denied a student request to label Abraham Lincoln as a murderer of Native Americans.
According to the school newspaper The Daily Cardinal, a number of students from the Associated Students of Madison had petitioned the chancellor to attach a plaque to a statue of Lincoln on the UW-Madison campus, which would acknowledge that Lincoln had a significant role in the killing of 38 Native Americans in the Dakota Massacre of 1862.
“We wanted a plaque near Lincoln because we wanted the university to recognize his part in the Dakota 38 massacre,” said Katrina Morrison, who is the Chair for the Associated Students of Madison. “I think that [by not putting a plaque on the statue] is a mistake, and I think that the history is irrefutable. It is clear that [Lincoln] played a huge role in the massacre and was killing innocent people for no reason.”
Another student, Mariah Skenandore, complained that the university’s refusal to put up the plaque is further evidence of their continued oppression of marginalized students.
“They don’t acknowledge the impact that it is having on their students, and I’m impacted by [seeing Lincoln’s statue] every day,” Skenandore said. “I think the plaque is the least the university can do.”
According to UW Chancellor Rebecca Blank, the presence of the Lincoln statue on campus merely serves to reinforce the commitment that Abraham Lincoln had to public education.
“Abe is actually here because he was the person who really created public universities in the states throughout this country in a very real way,” said Blank. “I do not see a reason to prominently label [killings of natives] on the Lincoln statue.”
Despite UW-Madison’s denial of their petition, Skenandore said that her organization will continue pushing for the addition of a plaque that formally blames Lincoln for the killings of innocent men.
“If we don’t keep advocating for ourselves, no one is going to advocate for us,” Skenandore said.