UPRISING: Cheyenne River Sioux Chair Offers to Rip Down Mount Rushmore

Ahead of Trump’s planned visit on Friday, Harold Frazier decried  the iconic South Dakota mountain carving as a monument to “our molesters.”

Mount Rushmore sculptures. (Winkelvi, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By Jon Queally
Common Dreams

Describing the iconic South Dakota mountain carving that depicts the heads of famous U.S presidents as nothing but a monument to “our molesters,” the chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Nation Harold Frazier this week said he would willingly tear down Mount Rushmore if given the chance—with or without help—and pay for its destruction personally.

As local communities, states, and nations worldwide contend with the legacies of racism, colonialism, and exploitation chiseled or molded into monuments of historic figures with bloody and contemptuous pasts, Frazier said in a statement Monday, “Nothing stands as a greater reminder to the Great Sioux Nation of a country that cannot keep a promise or treaty than the faces carved into our sacred land on what the United States calls Mount Rushmore.”

With President Donald Trump planning to visit the Mount Rushmore National Memorial site on Friday to celebrate the July 4th holiday, Frazier expressed outrage over the insulting of nature of the event, which will include a fireworks display, as well as the monument itself. Sitting on disputed land that tribes claim remains theirs under treaties signed in the 19th century, the rockface monument — completed in 1941 and made a national landmark — depicts George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

“We are now being forced to witness the lashing of our land with pomp, arrogance, and fire hoping our sacred lands will survive,” said Frazier. “This brand on our flesh needs to be removed and I am willing to do it free of charge to the United States, by myself if I must.”

The millions of visitors who visit the monument each year, said Frazier, “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.” He said that while the visitors have the privilege of moving along when their visit ends, the local tribes “are the ones who live under the stare of those who have wronged us.”

“When I can remove those faces from our land,” said Fraizer, “I believe I would not be alone.”

There is also broader contempt over Trump’s visit with a number of Indigenous tribes in the region saying it would be better if the president stayed away. Critics have specifically raised alarm over huge crowds coming to the area amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic as well as the toxic and damaging impact of a large fireworks display, especially on the local ecology.

“The lands on which that mountain is carved and the lands he’s about to visit belong to the Great Sioux nation under a treaty signed in 1851 and the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 and I have to tell him he doesn’t have permission from its original sovereign owners to enter the territory at this time,” said Oglala Sioux president Julian Bear Runner in an interview with The Guardian published Wednesday.

“As leader of the United States he has obligation to … honor the treaties that are the supreme law of the land,” Bear Runner added. “It’s going to cause an uproar if he comes here. People are going to want to exercise their Frst Amendment rights to protest and we do not want to see anyone get hurt or the lands be destroyed.”

This article is from Common Dreams.

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16 comments for “UPRISING: Cheyenne River Sioux Chair Offers to Rip Down Mount Rushmore

  1. Big d
    July 5, 2020 at 04:20

    Trump is the biggest problem our country has it’s time for a change and and make what is wrong right again put a native american in office and maybe our country will be what it needs to be a tribe united

  2. Lee C Ng
    July 4, 2020 at 17:43

    Trump is just the latest in a long line of unthinking oppressors who found it natural to celebrate genocidal personalities. What makes his plan distinctive, however, is that he’s also enjoying the Mt. Rushmore occasion with fireworks, an invention from the country he apparently dislikes – China.

  3. Tide Roll
    July 4, 2020 at 16:23

    It should be their land and they should be able to do whatever they want with it. Personally I don’t particularly like destroying artwork simply because it pictures people or ideas a current society is opposed to. That’s the mindset of the Taliban or ISIS destroying ancient Buddhas and Sumerian cities, etc.

    Every person who’s ever existed has also had bad thoughts and done bad actions, so no one is sacred. If one statue or artwork deserves being destroyed, then they all do.

    Remove George Washington, put up Tubman, learn some bad things about her or society changes, remove her, put up Cesar Chavez, then he falls out of favor, so remove him, etc. etc. etc. I think it’s rather stupid and also a distraction that’s used to placate the masses with superficial virtue signaling rather than real change that impacts peoples’ lives.

    So, I guess ideally if people won’t stop with this, I hope every statue in the world is destroyed so we can start dealing with actual important issues.

  4. John Smith
    July 3, 2020 at 16:21

    Eject the trespasser.

  5. Yelena
    July 3, 2020 at 11:12

    Now this would be one destruction of a monument that I would full-heartedly support. The Black Hills were and are sacred – carving those heads into the stone was akin to a bunch of Americans tearing down St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow in order to replace it with a McDonald’s.

    But since those carved monster heads are gross and tasteless, they will probably stay – unlike that beautiful elk statue in Portland, which fell victim to the vandals.

    • Susan Siens
      July 5, 2020 at 16:39

      I’ve found this grotesquerie horrifying my entire life. To deface a mountain with human faces is vomit-worthy. Someone asked me if I felt the same about the likeness of Crazy Horse, and I said yes. It’s one thing if a mountain cliff appears to have a human profile (thinking of the White Mountains in New Hampshire), but to deliberately deface nature with a human likeness is an obscenity. Fortunately, the earth recycles rock on a regular basis, and in earth-time Mt Rushmore will eventually be gone.

  6. July 3, 2020 at 11:12

    I would be happy to travel to Mount Rushmore to help you commence destruction of this plague we whites have visited upon your land and your people Mr. Frazier…

    • Robert McCurdy
      July 3, 2020 at 17:11

      I’d like to come too please; to help heal that insult.

  7. Rainer Arndt
    July 3, 2020 at 08:57

    “The lands on which that mountain is carved and the lands he’s about to visit belong to the Great Sioux nation under a treaty signed in 1851 and the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 and I have to tell him he doesn’t have permission from its original sovereign owners to enter the territory at this time,”
    Oglala Sioux president Julian Bear Runner
    Eliquently spoken .

    It saddens my heart to see this being done to the Sioux nation and all natives .
    To the earth , the animals and the land that is sacred.
    The wisdom of communication with the earth is their advantage we all must learn and honor as it benfits all.

    • Susan Roland
      July 3, 2020 at 11:12

      I heartily agree with you. Native American lands are sacred areas that were designated long before our trampling in on them.

  8. July 2, 2020 at 23:21

    We do not have the right to put our monuments on somebody else’s land

  9. Dolores A Welty
    July 2, 2020 at 15:32

    amen And the greatest virtues contained in the founding of the United States are equality of persons and democracy in reaching decisions — both practiced by Natives and admired and copied by the Founding Fathers — but never truly taken to heart.

  10. Nathan Mulcahy
    July 2, 2020 at 14:31

    It gives me no pleasure to realize that the two major elements of this country’s foundation were ethnic cleansing and slavery. It doesn’t matter how many Americans remain ignorant of these facts and how many deny them. The foundation remains unsound. How long can a house resist toppling whose foundation is crooked, even if it has a splendid facade? Are we already seeing signs of a process that can only accelerate and then end up like Humpty Dumpty that even all the king’s horses and all the king’s men wouldn’t be able to put together again?

    BTW, not honoring treaties is not a specialty of Trump alone. It is an American virtue.

    • Steve Naidamast
      July 2, 2020 at 18:15

      Its much worse than just ethnic cleansing and slavery, It is the deceit, the constant lying by the government to the people, the constant war mongering all over the globe, the sheer greed of our psychopathic elites along with our sociopathic politicians, and the infestation of pro-Israel supporters into our government that have made the Mid East a hopeless land mass with Gaza as the largest open air prison on Earth… And the US simply turns a blind eye…

    • Zeke Krahlin
      July 2, 2020 at 21:23

      Very well said, Nathan. Thank you.

    • Leroy Campbell
      July 3, 2020 at 00:34

      Please do not call it a virtue. But it does seem to be a trait.

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