Native American activists are planning to protest President Donald Trump’s Independence Day celebrations at South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore monument, calling it a “symbol of white supremacy.”
Trump is planning an appearance at the historic site, complete with fireworks and a flypast, according to Fox News.
But for some indigenous peoples, the faces of the four presidents carved in stone are a reminder of United States government policies in the late nineteenth century that relocated Natives from their traditional homelands onto reservations. (RELATED: Whoopi Goldberg Is Ready To See More Faces On Mount Rushmore)
“Mount Rushmore is a symbol of white supremacy, of structural racism that’s still alive and well in society today,” Oglala Lakota tribe member and NDN Collective activist Nick Tilsen told Fox News. “It’s an injustice to actively steal indigenous people’s land then carve the white faces of the conquerors who committed genocide.”
Tilsen’s group and others plan to protest when Trump arrives on July 3. They have made no threats to deface the monument.
Vandals have toppled historical statues across the country, beginning with Confederate icons but moving to other American leaders. Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday that the statue of President Theodore Roosevelt would be removed from the entrance of the Museum of Natural History. Protesters Friday tore down a statue of President and Civil War Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in San Francisco.
Hoover Institution Professor Victor Davis Hanson suggested the people who are toppling statues or demanding that they be removed wouldn’t travel to Mount Rushmore with the same thought in mind. (RELATED: COULTER: Get Ready To See Trump’s Face On Mount Rushmore)
“So if you’re going to take down Teddy Roosevelt at the National Museum, why don’t you go to Mount Rushmore and blow Teddy Roosevelt up? You don’t want to do that because the people in that area of the Dakotas might resist,” he told Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Monday.
Sculptor Gutzon Borglum painstakingly created his masterpiece during the years 1927-41 after South Dakota historian Doane Robinson suggested the idea.