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Mount Rushmore

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Author Topic: Mount Rushmore  (Read 2202 times)
Shonnon
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« on: December 10, 2012, 05:45:42 pm »

Controversy

Mount Rushmore is controversial among Native Americans because the United States seized the area from the Lakota tribe after the Great Sioux War of 1876. The Treaty of Fort Laramie from 1868 had previously granted the Black Hills to the Lakota in perpetuity. Members of the American Indian Movement led an occupation of the monument in 1971, naming it "Mount Crazy Horse". Among the participants were young activists, grandparents, children and Lakota holy man John Fire Lame Deer, who planted a prayer staff atop the mountain. Lame Deer said the staff formed a symbolic shroud over the presidents' faces "which shall remain dirty until the treaties concerning the Black Hills are fulfilled."[23]

In 2004, the first Native American superintendent of the park was appointed. Gerard Baker has stated that he will open up more "avenues of interpretation", and that the four presidents are "only one avenue and only one focus."[24]

The Crazy Horse Memorial is being constructed elsewhere in the Black Hills to commemorate the famous Native American leader and as a response to Mount Rushmore. It is intended to be larger than Mount Rushmore and has the support of Lakota chiefs; the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation has rejected offers of federal funds. However, this memorial is likewise the subject of controversy, even within the Native American community.[25]

The monument also provokes controversy because some[who?] allege that underlying it is the theme of racial superiority legitimized by the idea of Manifest Destiny. The four presidents chosen by Borglum were all active during the period when the United States was annexing Native American land. Gutzon Borglum himself excites controversy, because he was an active member of the Ku Klux Klan.[12][26]

In May 2012 James Anaya, a United Nations special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, conducted the United Nations’ first-ever investigation into the plight of Native Americans living in the United States. Anaya’s recommendations include advising the U.S. to return some land to Native American tribes, including South Dakota’s Black Hills.[27]
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