Oglala Sioux President Julian Bear Runner is protesting President Donald Trump’s planned visit to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota next week, saying the monument should be “removed” because it is on land claimed by Native Americans.
The Argus Leader reported Thursday that many — though not all — local Sioux “want the monument removed,” seeing the faces of four white leaders as an affront — including Abraham Lincoln, who was president when U.S. soldiers executed Indians.
Several groups are planning to protest Trump’s visit, and Bear Runner has written a memorandum to Trump opposing his visit.
Trump is planning to visit as a show of support for national monuments as left-wing activists affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement have torn down and destroyed them in recent weeks, including statues of abolitionists.
The Argus Leader elaborates:
Mount Rushmore was created to draw tourism to South Dakota and its carving took place between 1927 and 1941. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum intended for Mount Rushmore to stand for America’s greatness, and it’s referred to as the Shrine of Democracy. However, stories in recent years have highlighted Borglum’s ties to white supremacy, possibly joining the Ku Klux Klan, his Confederate sculpture funded by the KKK and that the tribes have argued for generations that the land was stolen from them.
“Mount Rushmore is a symbol of white supremacy, of structural racism that’s still alive and well in society today,” said Nick Tilsen, a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe and the president of a local activist organization called NDN Collective. “It’s an injustice to actively steal Indigenous people’s land then carve the white faces of the conquerors who committed genocide.”
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem said earlier this week that she would protect Mount Rushmore: “Not on my watch,” she said.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.