OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A well-known monument that greets visitors to Bricktown River Walk Park is now surrounded in controversy.
A group called the Society to Protect Indigenous Rights and Indigenous Treaties, or SPIRIT, is calling for the removal of the Land Run Monument.
The group says the monument “applauds the genocide of our people.”
“Sadness, anger, hurt, and a lot of grief, just grieving the loss of my ancestors and knowing that this monument is not telling a truthful history of Oklahoma and how we were founded as a state,” said Kendra Wilson Clements, a member of SPIRIT. “We don’t see the indigenous people present who were run over literally and figuratively as well.”
“Native people couldn’t even participate in the land run,” Brenda Golden, co-founder of SPIRIT, said.
On July 11, the group will host a sit-in at the monument, some protesters even plan to lie under the hooves of the horses to depict how they say their ancestors must have felt during the Land Run.
“The time is right now to bring this up while there is compassion for people of color, and we are the forgotten minority, Native Americans in a lot of ways, because the way our people have been treated,” said Golden.
The group is demanding that the monument be taken down and replaced by plaques to tell the full story of what happened to Native Americans during the event. They also want a new monument depicting Native American history and better curriculum that tells both sides of the story regarding the Land Run.
“There is a lot of bloodshed on our Native people and other people as well that is not being told. The Land Run memorializes a lot of things,” Golden said.
Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt has not commented on the demands.
However, the city has provided land and invested $9 million for the First Americans Museum, which is near the monument.
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