The Chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota said he would remove the monument himself if he must.
As folks across the United States continue to have conversations about racial inequality, indigenous voices are finally coming to the fore. Most recently, Chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota Harold Frazier wrote in a statement about the need to remove the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. "Nothing stands as a greater reminder to the Great Sioux Nation of a country that cannot keep a promise of treaty then the faces carved into our sacred land on what the United States calls Mount Rushmore," he affirmed. The call comes amidst the removal of multiple Confederate statues and other monuments all over the country.
The Chairman released his statement to the public via Twitter. He wrote, "We are now being forced to witness the lashing of our land with pomp, arrogance, and fire, hoping our sacred lands will survive. 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. Visitors look upon the faces of those Presidents and extoll the beliefs 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."
We need to remove Mount Rushmore! pic.twitter.com/4fVzlf1Jkh— Garden Cholo (@ecoxicano) June 24, 2020
"The United States of America wishes for all of us to be citizens and a family of their republic yet when they get bored of looking at those faces we are left looking at the faces of our molesters," he continued. "We are the ones who live under the stare of those who have wronged us. While others have the privilege to look away and move on, we cannot. When I can remove those faces from our land I believe I would not be alone." The strong words were the result of centuries of oppression under, as Chairman Frazier stated, the stare of the very men who oppressed them long after they had passed.
“IF WE REMOVE STATUES OF RACISTS AND SLAVERS, THEN WHERE DOES IT STOP!? DO WE BLOW UP MOUNT RUSHMORE TOO!?!?”— Black Lives Still Matter (@alexrwhiteside) June 22, 2020
Ya know what? Come to think of it... pic.twitter.com/2SBswCGCBF
Frazier is not the first Native leader to call for Mount Rushmore's removal. Earlier this year in June, Oglala Sioux President Julian Bear Runner also demanded that the monument be removed, rightly claiming it was a "great sign of disrespect." Both the Oglala Sioux Tribe and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, home to four bands of Sioux Natives, are part of the Great Sioux Nation. Though Mount Rushmore was originally located in the Great Sioux Reservation—the original area encompassing what are today the various Sioux Indian reservations in South Dakota and Nebraska—it was essentially "relocated" after the United States government discovered gold in the Black Hills, a mountain range considered sacred ground by Natives.
This Friday, United States President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will travel to Mount Rushmore in order to celebrate the Fourth of July. While the Presidential couple will be celebrating against the backdrop of "a symbol of freedom and hope for people from all cultures and backgrounds," Native Americans, to whom this country's land truly belongs, will be reminded only of their oppression.
Lakota tribal leader calls for the removal of Mount Rushmore- a monument that is on Lakota land and was carved by Gutzon Borglum, a member of the Klu Klux Klan.— dakota hanwi 🌙 (@dakotawint) July 1, 2020
It's been powerful seeing racist memorials pulled down in towns around the states, but imagine taking it up a notch.. pic.twitter.com/5LNnYN6rGe