GOP Rep. Dusty Johnson Introduces Bill That Would Prevent Mount Rushmore From Being Altered, Demolished Or Renamed

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Devan Bugbee Contributor
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Republican South Dakota Rep. Dusty Johnson has reintroduced legislation that would protect Mount Rushmore from being altered or demolished amid backlash claiming that it disturbs Native Americans.

Johnson introduced the Mount Rushmore Protection Act, which would prevent the federal government from altering, renaming or demolishing the sculpture, stating that the monument stands as a tribute to American greatness, though he also admitted that “[American] history is not without its flaws.”

The congressman introduced similar legislation in Aug. 2022 and in June 2020.

“Removing or changing Mount Rushmore will not change the past and will not move us forward as a country. We must protect Mount Rushmore for generations to come,” Johnson said, according to Fox News. (RELATED: D.C. Council Overrides Bowser’s Veto Of Crime Reform Bill)

The bill has garnered support from Republican House Reps. Michael Guest of Mississippi, Alex Mooney of West Virginia, Doug LaMalfa of California, Jim Banks of Indiana, Nancy Mace of South Carolina, Chris Stewart of Utah, Troy Nehls of Texas, Claudia Tenney of New York and Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen, the non-voting delegate from American Samoa, according to the outlet.

In 2020, Native American activists held protests at the monument, where one denounced Mount Rushmore as a “symbol of white supremacy.”

“It’s an injustice to actively steal Indigenous people’s land, then carve the white faces of the colonizers who committed genocide,” Oglala Lakota tribe member Nick Tilsen told the Associated Press at the time.

The National Park Service (NPS) sent Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem a letter on Jan. 12 denying her request to hold an Independence Day firework display at Mount Rushmore, telling her in a letter that “[f]ireworks continue to be viewed by multiple Tribes as an adverse effect on the traditional cultural landscape.”

“The Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration is the best way that we can celebrate America’s birthday. We lost our ability to hold this celebration during the Obama administration, so I’m asking our South Dakota delegation to help us advocate for this tremendous event,” Noem told the Daily Caller after receiving the letter.

Former President Donald Trump, who brought back the firework displays after they were canceled under former President Barack Obama, defended the monument in 2020, declaring that “this monument will never be desecrated; these heroes will never be defaced; their legacy will never ever be destroyed; their achievements will not be forgotten, and Mount Rushmore will stand forever as an eternal tribute to our forefathers and our freedom.”