Two Sioux tribal leaders are calling for the removal of the faces of U.S. presidents carved into Mount Rushmore, saying the monument in South Dakota’s Black Hills is an insult to their people and a stain on sacred land.
What are the details?
The Argus Leader interviewed Oglala Sioux President Julian Bear Runner last week, to get the tribal leader’s take on President Donald Trump visit to Mount Rushmore during an upcoming Independence Day celebration at the monument.
Bear Runner said he is not only against the president’s visit, he wants the attraction displaying the etched faces of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln removed altogether–carefully.
“I don’t believe it should be blown up, because it would cause more damage to the land,” Bear Runner told the newspaper, reiterating that the faces on Mount Rushmore should be “removed but not blown up.”
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier agrees. In a statement released Monday, Frazier wrote that “nothing stands as a greater reminder to the Great Sioux Nation of a country that cannot keep a promise or treaty then (sic) the faces carved into our sacred land on what the United States calls Mount Rushmore.”
Frazier added, “Visitors look upon the faces of those presidents and extoll the virtues that they believe make America the country it is today. Lakota see the faces of the men who lied, cheated and murdered innocent people whose only crime was living on the land they wanted to steal.”
According to The New York Times:
Native Americans have long criticized the sculpture, in part because it was built on what had been Indigenous land. And more recently, amid a nationwide movement against racism that has toppled statues commemorating Confederate general and other historical figures, some activists have called for Mount Rushmore to close.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) said last week that her office had already seen threats on social media targeting Mount Rushmore for destruction by activists. When the prospect of the monument being “blown up” was raised on social media, Noem declared, “Not on my watch.”