BENNINGTON, Vermont (AP) – A statue of Abraham Lincoln in a Vermont museum has been vandalized with the number “38,” which police say refers to the execution of 38 Native Americans ordered by the former president in 1862.
Police said a Bennington Museum employee arrived on Sunday morning to find a large banner reading “LAND BACK” placed between two lampposts at the entrance to the museum’s courtyard.
The Lincoln statue in the courtyard had reddish spray paint on his face and hands, as well as the number “38” painted on his chest, police said. Officials said it would have to cost several thousand dollars to repair the statue and remove the paint.
Police said they believed the vandalism referred to the Dakota 38s, which were executed after the Dakota War of 1862, also known as the Sioux Uprising of 1862.
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 convictions have been commuted. One of those condemned to be executed received a suspended sentence.
The Bennington Museum describes itself as a museum of art, history and innovation.
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