Oglala Lakota Tribe Member Nick Tilsen Says Mount Rushmore Is a ‘Symbol of White Supremacy’

Oglala Lakota Tribe Member Nick Tilsen Says Mount Rushmore Is a ‘Symbol of White Supremacy’


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Janet Ybarra
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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Despite requests from tribal officials to stay away, Donald Trump visited Mt Rushmore in South Dakota for an observance of Independence Day which amounted to nothing more than the latest salvo in Trump’s culture war.

Trump ignored the plea from the president of the Oglala Sioux tribal council to stay away.

Mt Rushmore is carved on a mountainface which is considered sacred land to the Oglala Sioux people and was stolen from them.

Instead of delivering message of unity on the occasion of the birthday of the United States, Trump chose a typically divisive theme, accusing ongoing protesters seeking racial justice, of instead leading a “left-wing cultural revolution.” 

“Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities,” Trump claimed. “They think the American people are weak and soft and submissive.”

To make matters worse was to deliver such a speech with what Mt Rushmore represents, according to Nick Tilsen, a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe.

“The biggest message is that Mount Rushmore is really a national symbol — symbolism — a symbol of white supremacy,” he said. “When you carve out four white men who were colonizers, who committed genocide against indigenous people, and then steal that land from them and carve these faces into the sacred place. And for that to be okay in society today, is fundamentally wrong.”

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