In Portland, Chicago, and Minneapolis, colonial statues were defaced with anti-colonial slogans and pulled down (or in the case of Chicago, an attempt was made). Also in Portland, OR, several banks had their windows broken and walls painted with anti-colonial slogans.
In several US cities, banners were dropped in solidarity with Loren Reed, an Indigenous man facing up to 10 years in prison for posting Facebook comments about protests around police violence. Meanwhile in Chicago, people took to the streets to oppose the dwindling crowds of Trump supporters and far-Right groups who came out in support of a “Stop the Steal” rally. In so-called Flagstaff, Arizona, an Indigenous mutual aid event and livestream was organized. Finally, across so-called Canada, blockades and actions took place in several cities in solidarity with front-line Indigenous struggles.
Anti-Colonial Direct Action
In Portland, Oregon, statues were toppled and graffited with anti-colonial slogans. Windows to various banks were also broken and anti-pipeline and anti-colonial slogans were written.
Since 1903, a bronze war memorial dedicated to the soldiers of the Mexican-American, Spanish-American, and American-Indian wars had stood high on a stone pedestal in the Lone Fir cemetery in Portland. This shameless celebration of American imperialism, colonialism, and genocide enshrined the image of a colonizing soldier in a grotesque display of nationalistic pride. This particular bronze colonizer had stood on his feet for far too long, and this night would be a great night to change that.
With the COVID-19 pandemic and cold, wet weather, few are out and about late, making nighttime direct actions all the easier to pull off without accidental witnesses. The streets glistened wet with the light rain from earlier, and the waxing moon glowed through the clouds as the small crew of young anarchists met long after dark. Masked and dressed inconspicuously, wearing gloves to prevent leaving fingerprints, they carried with them everything they needed and nothing more. Sticking to the shadows of quiet side streets, they approached the cemetery. At a moment when the sounds of cars were only distant echoes, they helped each other over the spiked cemetery fence, and were quickly among the shaded headstones.
Messages on Chase Bank (3902 SE Hawthorne) this AM: "1637," "LAND BACK," "PEQUOT MASSACRE," "STOP FUNDING PIPELINES," "FUCK YOU COLONIZER." People jogging by commented that they'd never heard "Pequot" before.
The crew moved towards the tall bronze statue that loomed large over the surrounding graves and walked a wide circle around it, ensuring they were alone. Time for action. As one acted as lookout, others removed cans of spray-paint, and quickly covered all sides of the statue’s base with their thoughts on the monument. “EAT SHIT COLONIZER” in bold red letters was painted across the pedestal. Plaques celebrating the genocidal acts of the enshrined soldiers were covered with paint. Now he would fall.
One troublemaker was helped on top of the tall statue’s base, and they looped a thick, sturdy strap around the metal soldier’s neck.Hopping down, they joined the others, and all began to pull as one. Coordinating with quiet “heave, ho!”s, the statue began to bend at the base. Running around to the other side of the monument, they pulled it back in the other direction. Repeating this, back and forth, back and forth, the statue bent more and more, until with a strong tug against the strap on it’s neck, it was pulled horizontal. Still barely connected to its base, the anarchists pulled against the strap at an angle, twisting the statue against it’s foundation. They pulled it around by the neck until, with a crash, it broke from the pedestal and came tumbling down, face-first into the dirt.
In Chicago, IL, the local news reported that “[s]omeone threw a rope that was attached to a car around the statue [of President McKinley] in an attempt to bring it down, police said.” According to the article:
A statue of former president William McKinley was vandalized Wednesday morning at McKinley Park on the Southwest Side. About 4 a.m., someone threw a rope around the statue in the 3700 block of South Archer Avenue, according to Chicago police. The rope was attached to a car in an attempt to bring down the statue, police said. The statue was also spray-painted with graffiti, police said. No arrest has been announced.
In Minneapolis, MN, statues were also vandalized with paint and anti-colonial slogans. A report on Unicorn Riot wrote:
As dawn arose on Thanksgiving Day in Minneapolis, two historical colonial statues were toppled and defaced. A George Washington statue was taken down across from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Pioneers Statue at BF Nelson Park was vandalized with the words “no thanks,” “no more genocide,” “decolonize,” “all colonizers are bastards,” and “land back.“
Pan-Indigenous People’s Liberation (PIPL) network released a statement explaining why they chose to target these particular monuments:
“Statue of genocidal George ‘Town Destroyer’ Washington—settler-colonial war criminal & racist slaveowner—toppled at Washburn Fair Oaks Park. The ‘Pioneers’ statue at BF Nelson Park (donated by the capitalist Pillsbury family), memorializing the invasion of Dakota lands, redecorated to reveal its true purpose. It must fall.
These actions, in so-called Minneapolis, demonstrate our opposition to the vile white-supremacist ‘celebration’ of Thanksgiving, & show revolutionary solidarity between Indigenous & Black militants, racialized migrants & white-settler accomplices.
We believe in self-determination for all oppressed & exploited peoples! Working-class communities of all nations & races must unite! End the illegal U.S occupation of Turtle Island! Abolish Amerikkka! All power to the people!“
Banners were dropped in solidarity with Loren Reed, an Indigenous Diné man who is facing upwards of 10 years in prison for posting comments on social media while planning a protest against police violence:
Loren Reed is an indigenous (Diné) man facing up to 10 years in federal prison for comments he allegedly made on Facebook while planning a protest against police brutality. This Thanksgiving, #SayHisName. Fight for his release, and the release of all political prisoners. pic.twitter.com/MhPvKjTkgc
Loren Reed is an indigenous (Diné) man facing up to 10 years in federal prison for comments he allegedly made on Facebook while planning a protest against police brutality. This Thanksgiving, #SayHisName. Fight for his release, and the release of all political prisoners. pic.twitter.com/J8rA7afxp1
Solidarity train disruptions was also carried out in Montreal. According to a report that was released by North Shore Counter-Info:
Early in the evening of Friday November 27th, Canadian Pacific (merchandise) and AMT (commuter trains) traffic was interrupted as a response to the Coast to Coast call to Action* against the continued violent invasion of unceded Indigenous territory by militarized colonial police forces.
As seen time and time again, the only language understood by the Canadian state is the disruption of the circulation of goods, labor, and capital. Last winter, Indigenous land protectors and settler accomplices have shown that the Canadian colonial project is nothing more than a few population hubs linked to extractive areas by vulnerable transport infrastructure. Colonial laws are illegitimate on Indigenous territory and they will always be disregarded in the fight against the genocide of Indigenous people.
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