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Lincoln statue graffitied, demand for return of native land

October 10, 2021 GMT

BENNINGTON, Vt. (AP) — An Abraham Lincoln statue at a Vermont museum has been vandalized with the number “38,” which police say they believe is a reference to the execution of 38 Native Americans ordered by the former president in 1862.

Police said an employee at the Bennington Museum arrived Sunday morning to find a large banner that read “LAND BACK” had been put up between two light poles at the entrance to the museum’s courtyard.

The Lincoln statue in the courtyard had reddish spray paint on its face and hands, along with the number “38” painted on its chest, police said. Officials said it is expected to cost several thousand dollars to repair the statue and remove the paint.

Police said they believe the vandalism is a reference to the Dakota 38, who were executed after the 1862 Dakota War, which was also known as the Sioux Uprising of 1862.

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A military commission sentenced 303 Sioux fighters to be executed. Lincoln reviewed the cases and decided there was evidence that 39 Sioux were guilty of murder or rape during the uprising and ordered their execution. The remaining 264 sentences were commuted. One of those sentenced to be executed received a reprieve.

The Bennington Museum describes itself as a museum of art, history and innovation.