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News Release

Anishinaabek Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party

The National Congress of American Indians of the United States (NCAI) voted in favor of a Resolution to dismantle memorials to George Armstrong Custer across the United States. The Resolution was presented at the Monroe City Council meeting of October 18, to reignite the project to remove the Custer Memorial from St. Mary’s Park.

The Anishinaabek Caucus and Good Trouble Monroe have been engaging the city of Monroe to remove the Custer Memorial since June 2020. Progress dissolved when Monroe City Council cancelled the project at the August 2 meeting.

The Anishinaabek Caucus escalated the work to remove the Monroe Custer memorial to National Congress of American Indians, the oldest and largest national organization of sovereign Native Nation governments across the United States. Custer is notoriously known as an “Indian Killer,” and thus monuments named in his honor act as public reminders of the genocide committed against Indigenous peoples. Further, they serve as de facto endorsements for continued ethnocentrism and racism in the United States. National Congress of American Indians has taken aim at all memorials to Custer throughout the United States.

Pictured: Julie Dye with #WarCriminal placard at the Good Trouble Monroe Rally: Custer Falls Again in July 2021.

Pictured: Julie Dye with #WarCriminal placard at the Good Trouble Monroe Rally: Custer Falls Again in July 2021.

All memorials to Custer and public name places propagate myths and fallacies. He amassed 726 demerits and faced a court-martial while still a student at West Point Military Academy. During reconstruction he refused to lead African American troops, believing the role of soldier was above their station. He defied orders from military superiors, invoked his own laws among troops that were contrary to military discipline, and abandoned his command without permission to leave, resulting in him being court-martialed again and suspended from rank for 10 months. All this before he would go on to violate treaties with Native peoples signed by Presidents and tribal Leaders.

The fallacies surrounding Custer's life began by his own hand in writing false accounts for publication. An act continued after his death by his wife Elizabeth Bacon who romanticized her husband's memory in books such as "The Boy General". In 1907 "The Custer Memorial Association of Monroe", fueled by these romantic fallacies, lobbied the state government for funds to erect the Custer statue that now stands at the entrance of St. Mary’s Park in Monroe, Michigan.

National Congress of American Indians is resolved to stop all harms to Indigenous peoples associated with Custer memorials across the United States.

Anishinaabek Caucus of MDP is a political caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party advocating for the issues and concerns of the 12 Native Nations in Michigan.

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