A Native American Chief Should Have Replaced Andrew Jackson on the $20
The decision to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 brought up an opportunity to feature historical Native American leaders on U.S. currency.
On April 20th, the Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew announced an important redesign of American currency. Most significantly, the abolitionist heroine Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. While Harriet Tubman is an excellent choice for an individual whose presence on our money would serve as a reminder of a terrible blemish on our past, a historical Native American leader should have replaced the noted “Indian Killer” Jackson.
Andrew Jackson deserved to be booted from our money. The 7th President owned hundreds of slaves, was a ruthless soldier and was instrumental in the forceful relocation of Native Americans from their ancestral lands. He implemented the Indian Removal Act of 1830, and stood by numerous violations of treaties like when Georgia ignored a federal treaty and seized nine million acres inside the state that had been guaranteed to the Cherokee tribe. Jackson's support of Georgia in this case resulted in the violent relocation west of tens of thousands Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muskogee, Creek, Seminole and Cherokees. 1838's Cherokee "Trail of Tears" claimed the lives of approximately 4,000, who died of starvation, exposure and illness.
As there were several bills considered for redesign, it would have been possible to recognize Harriet Tubman and a representative of America’s indigenous people. Harriet Tubman was a remarkable American, who escaped slavery herself and then helped rescue hundreds of slaves through the Underground Railroad. Her life is a testament to the possibility of an individual making a difference. But rather than having her replace Jackson, it would have been a clearer reversal of a historical injustice to replace Andrew Jackson with a Native American leader.
Hunkpapa Lakota Chief Sitting Bull
There have been a great amount of Native American leaders whose names are not known as widely as they deserve. Honoring them the way we honor our Presidents by putting their likeness on the money we use would recognize the complexity of our nation’s creation. One candidate could be the Nez Perce Chief Joseph (aka "Thunder Traveling in the Mountains"), who resisted the removal of his people and became known widely as a peacemaker and humanitarian. Another great candidate should be the Oglala Lakota Chief Red Cloud, who was a gifted military commander and a fierce defender of his people. Similarly, the Hunkpapa Lakota Chief Sitting Bull, an instrumental leader during the 1876’s Battle of the Little Bighorn, would be a great presence on our currency.
Nez Perce Chief Joseph
Before we get into which past injustice gets more priority, there really should have been more changes made with our money. Taking Alexander Hamilton from the $10 bill was also under consideration. Alexander Hamilton was an important American, one of the founding “fathers” of this country, but he was not a President. His accomplishment was in helping to set up the financial system of the fledgling republic. While he did an important job, should we then consider putting Alan Greenspan on one of the greenbacks? The movement to take Hamilton off the $10 bill was stalled by the success of the Broadway show "Hamilton". The creator of the show Lin-Manuel Miranda is a great communicator and promoter (and recently won a Pulitzer prize), but since when should lobbying efforts by an ultimately self-serving showbiz personality determine such historical events as who gets to grace our money? Paper currency plays an important role in the signs that dominate our daily life. The images on the bills are something we see constantly, whether consciously or subconsciously.
Oglala Lakota Chief Red Cloud
Perhaps this is a debate that doesn’t change the reality of what happened in our history. But symbolic gestures that aid the acknowledgement of the past in an honest and fair way are key in resolving the traumas of our collective past. In not putting a Native American on our money, the US Treasury missed a key opportunity, which can still be corrected.
As Chief Joseph said: “Whenever the white man treats the Indian as they treat each other, then we shall have no more wars. We shall all be alike, brothers of one father and one mother with one sky above us and one country around us and one government for all. Then the Great Spirit Chief who rules above will smile upon this land and send rain to wash out the bloody spots made by brothers' hands upon the face of the Earth.”
What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
The 'People Map of the United States' zooms in on America's obsession with celebrity
- Replace city names with those of their most famous residents
- And you get a peculiar map of America's obsession with celebrity
- If you seek fame, become an actor, musician or athlete rather than a politician, entrepreneur or scientist
Chicagoland is Obamaland
Image: The Pudding
Chicagoland's celebrity constellation: dominated by Barack, but with plenty of room for the Belushis, Brandos and Capones of this world.
Seen from among the satellites, this map of the United States is populated by a remarkably diverse bunch of athletes, entertainers, entrepreneurs and other persons of repute (and disrepute).
The multitalented Dwayne Johnson, boxing legend Muhammad Ali and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs dominate the West Coast. Right down the middle, we find actors Chris Pratt and Jason Momoa, singer Elvis Presley and basketball player Shaquille O'Neal. The East Coast crew include wrestler John Cena, whistle-blower Edward Snowden, mass murderer Ted Bundy… and Dwayne Johnson, again.
The Rock pops up in both Hayward, CA and Southwest Ranches, FL, but he's not the only one to appear twice on the map. Wild West legend Wyatt Earp makes an appearance in both Deadwood, SD and Dodge City, KS.
How is that? This 'People's Map of the United States' replaces the names of cities with those of "their most Wikipedia'ed resident: people born in, lived in, or connected to a place."
‘Cincinnati, Birthplace of Charles Manson'
Image: The Pudding
Keys to the city, or lock 'em up and throw away the key? A city's most famous sons and daughters of a city aren't always the most favoured ones.
That definition allows people to appear in more than one locality. Dwayne Johnson was born in Hayward, has one of his houses in Southwest Ranches, and is famous enough to be the 'most Wikipedia'ed resident' for both localities.
Wyatt Earp was born in Monmouth, IL, but his reputation is closely associated with both Deadwood and Dodge City – although he's most famous for the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, which took place in Tombstone, AZ. And yes, if you zoom in on that town in southern Arizona, there's Mr Earp again.
The data for this map was collected via the Wikipedia API (application programming interface) from the English-language Wikipedia for the period from July 2015 to May 2019.
The thousands of 'Notable People' sections in Wikipedia entries for cities and other places in the U.S. were scrubbed for the person with the most pageviews. No distinction was made between places of birth, residence or death. As the developers note, "people can 'be from' multiple places".
Pageviews are an impartial indicator of interest – it doesn't matter whether your claim to fame is horrific or honorific. As a result, this map provides a non-judgmental overview of America's obsession with celebrity.
Royals and (other) mortals
Image: The Pudding
There's also a UK version of the People Map – filled with last names like Neeson, Sheeran, Darwin and Churchill – and a few first names of monarchs.
Celebrity, it is often argued, is our age's version of the Greek pantheon, populated by dozens of major gods and thousands of minor ones, each an example of behaviours to emulate or avoid. This constellation of stars, famous and infamous, is more than a map of names. It's a window into America's soul.
But don't let that put you off. Zooming in on the map is entertaining enough: celebrities floating around in the ether are suddenly tied down to a pedestrian level, and to real geography. And it's fun to see the famous and the infamous rub shoulders, as it were.
Barack Obama owns Chicago, but the suburbs to the west of the city are dotted with a panoply of personalities, ranging from the criminal (Al Capone, Cicero) and the musical (John Prine, Maywood) to figures literary (Jonathan Franzen, Western Springs) and painterly (Ivan Albright, Warrenville), actorial (Harrison Ford, Park Ridge) and political (Eugene V. Debs, Elmhurst).
Freaks and angels
The People Map of the U.S. was inspired by the U.S.A. Song Map, substituting song titles for place names.
It would be interesting to compare 'the most Wikipedia'ed' sons and daughters of America's cities with the ones advertised at the city limits. When you're entering Aberdeen, WA, a sign invites you to 'come as you are', in homage to its most famous son, Kurt Cobain. It's a safe bet that Indian Hill, OH will make sure you know Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon, was one of theirs. But it's highly unlikely that Cincinnati, a bit further south, will make any noise about Charles Manson, local boy done bad.
Inevitably, the map also reveals some bitterly ironic neighbours, such as Ishi, the last of the Yahi tribe, captured near Oroville, CA. He died in 1916 as "the last wild Indian in North America". The most 'pageviewed' resident of nearby Colusa, CA is Byron de la Beckwith, Jr., the white supremacist convicted for the murder of Civil Rights activist Medgar Evers.
As a sampling of America's interests, this map teaches that those aiming for fame would do better to become actors, musicians or athletes rather than politicians, entrepreneurs or scientists. But also that celebrity is not limited to the big city lights of LA or New York. Even in deepest Dakota or flattest Kansas, the footlights of fame will find you. Whether that's good or bad? The pageviews don't judge...
Average waiting time for hitchhikers in Ireland: Less than 30 minutes. In southern Spain: More than 90 minutes.
- A popular means of transportation from the 1920s to the 1980s, hitchhiking has since fallen in disrepute.
- However, as this map shows, thumbing a ride still occupies a thriving niche – if at great geographic variance.
- In some countries and areas, you'll be off the street in no time. In other places, it's much harder to thumb your way from A to B.
Technology may soon grant us immortality, in a sense. Here's how.
- Through the Connectome Project we may soon be able to map the pathways of the entire human brain, including memories, and create computer programs that evoke the person the digitization is stemmed from.
- We age because errors build up in our cells — mitochondria to be exact.
- With CRISPR technology we may soon be able to edit out errors that build up as we age, and extend the human lifespan.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.