Native American Protesters Blocked The Road Leading To Mount Rushmore
Above photo: Activists and members of different tribes from the region block the road to the Mount Rushmore National Monument as they protest in Keystone, South Dakota on July 3, 2020. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images.
Faced off with the National Guard in the hours before Trump’s speech.
The Supreme Court ruled in 1980 that the Black Hills — where Mount Rushmore resides — was unlawfully taken from the Sioux people.
A group of mainly Native American protesters blocked the road leading up to Mount Rushmore for three hours before President Donald Trump gave a speech at the national monument Friday night.
A few photos I took at the Mount Rushmore protest yesterday, ones I didn't get time to post among everything. pic.twitter.com/U32CSw9brF
— jayfug (@jayfug) July 4, 2020
When they refused to disband, the protesters faced off with the South Dakota National Guard, which shot close-range shells at their feet and sprayed some protesters with pepper spray, according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.
By 7 p.m., 15 protesters who refused to leave the road had been arrested.
Trump went on to give a divisive speech at Mount Rushmore, saying the country was under siege by “far-left” fascists waging “a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children.”
The Black Hills, where Mount Rushmore is located, is a sacred area for local Native Americans, and a contested space.
The Supreme Court in 1980 ruled that the United States had illegally taken the land from the Sioux tribe in a deal brokered in 1873. The Mount Rushmore carvings were completed in 1941.
Lakota Protesters at Mt. Rushmore.
A time when a Nation is in Pain,
The Supreme Court ruled in 1980 that the lands on which Mount Rushmore stands were stolen illegally from the Lakota Peoples when an 1868 treaty was violated.
Please Retweet! pic.twitter.com/rU5tRZgNAa
— Native-Red Cloud "Mahpiya Luta"- 6th Gen- FM III (@Native3rd) July 4, 2020
Jeff Ostler, a historian at the University of Oregon, told ABC News that the federal government had offered the Sioux people a settlement of $1 billion for taking the land. The tribe has refused, saying they will only accept their land back.
Some of the protesters on Friday held signs reading “Protect SoDak’s First People,” “You Are On Stolen Land,” and “Dismantle White Supremacy,” according to the Associated Press.
Hehakaho Waste, a spiritual elder with the Oglala Sioux tribe, told the AP: “The president needs to open his eyes. We’re people, too, and it was our land first.”
Before being led off in handcuffs,Nick Tilsen, President and CEO of The NDN Collective said, “Our people have fought for this land and we will continue to. This won’t be the last. Our goal isn’t just to resist, but to radically imagine a better future.” https://t.co/n6niml0Ax8
— NDN Collective (@ndncollective) July 4, 2020