Colorado residents have spoken out against two billboards put up by an anonymous party featuring Native Americans carrying guns in what appears to be a pro-gun advertisement.
The black and white billboards appearing in the Greeley area show three traditionally-dressed Native Americans holding guns, with the text: "Turn in your arms. The government will take care of you."
"I think we all get that (Second Amendment) message. What I don't understand is how an organization can post something like that and not think about the ripple effect that it's gonna have through the community," said Greeley resident Kerri Salazar, who is of Native American descent, according to The Associated Press.
America is locked in an intense gun rights debate, with advocates for stricter gun control arguing that the U.S. should follow the example of other countries and reduce gun-related violence by restricting access to guns, but gun advocates have warned that any such restrictions will go against the Second Amendment.
While the billboards, which were put up by an anonymous group, do not provide a context or framework for their message, a Colorado State University professor and chairwoman of the ethnic studies department noted that in 1890, a U.S. regiment ordered a band of Native Americans to surrender their guns, only to shoot down hundreds of men, women and children in what would become known as the Wounded Knee Massacre.
"It wasn't just about our guns," clarified Irene Vernon, who is Native American.
"I thought it was pretty cowardly that someone would put something like that up and spend the money for a billboard but didn't have the courage to put their name on it," added another Greeley resident, Maureen Brucker.
Meanwhile, Native Americans have been protesting against the sale of the site in South Dakota where the Wounded Knee Massacre occurred.
A Rapid City businessman has been looking to sell the 40-acre plot of land he owns there for $3.9 million, reflecting its deep historical value which the Native Americans see as disrespectful, the New York Times reported.
"That historical value means something to us, not him," said Garfield Steele, a member of the tribal council who represents Wounded Knee. "We see that greed around here all the time with non-Indians. To me, you can't put a price on the lives that were taken there."