Interior Secretary: Removal of Confederate Monuments Will Lead to Complaints from Native Americans

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Alabama State Monument at Gettysburg

I am still trying to get my head around Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke‘s comments about monuments on federal lands.  Here is a taste of his recent interview with Breitbart:

No monuments are going to be removed from federal land,” Zinke assured viewers, reiterating the commitment he made in July when, long before the violent clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, outside of which a women was killed by an apparent white nationalist, left-wing activists were already stepping up their calls to remove monuments to Robert E. Lee and other Confederate leaders.

“Where do you start and where do you stop?” Zinke asked rhetorically, noting some decidedly non-Confederates monuments that have been subject to leftist criticism. “If you’re a native Indian, I can tell you, you’re not very happy about the history of General Sherman or perhaps President Grant.”

Most famous for their pivotal roles in the Union’s victory over the Confederacy in the Civil War, General William T. Sherman and General – later President – Ulysses S. Grant are the subject of dozens of prominent monuments throughout the United States. Less celebrated, however, are both men’s intimate involvement in formulating and executing federal policy towards American Indians, under which those native peoples suffered mightily. Sherman, for example, wrote his brother, Sen. John Sherman (R-OH), in 1868, “The more we can kill this year, the less will have to be killed the next war, for the more I see of these Indians the more convinced I am that they all have to be killed or be maintained as a species of paupers.”

“I think we should never hide from our history or erase our history. I think we should embrace the history and understand the faults and learn from it. But when you try to erase history, what happens is you also erase how it happened and why it happened and the ability to learn from it,” Zinke told house.

Here is a Huffington Post piece on Zinke’s comments.