July 3, 2020

NDN Collective Calls for Closure of Mount Rushmore and for the Black Hills to be Returned to the Lakota

In the lead up to President Donald Trump's visit to Lakota lands, NDN Collective calls for the closure of Mount Rushmore as a national monument.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: JULY 3, 2020

Rapid City, South Dakota — As U.S. President Donald Trump makes his way to Mount Rushmore for the Fourth of July weekend, NDN Collective calls for the closure of the national monument indefinitely, and for the sacred Paha Sapa (Black Hills) to be returned to the Lakota people.   

“Mount Rushmore is on stolen Lakota land and its very existence is a symbol of white supremacy” says Nick Tilsen, NDN Collective President and CEO.  “In opposing the ongoing desecration of our sacred land and asking for return of Lakota lands where Mount Rushmore is situated, we’re not saying anything that our parents, grandparents and great grandparents haven’t already said– The Lakota have opposed Mount Rushmore since the very beginning.”

Indigenous/Lakota youth in downtown Rapid City in the lead up to the Fourth of July weekend. July 2, 2020. Photo Courtesy of NDN Collective.

On the heels of growing national protests in defense of Black lives, monuments of white supremacy are coming down. Local, state and national governments are being called upon to take down symbols of thinly veiled white supremacy, including monuments and statues wherein white historical figures who have caused grave harm to Black and Indigenous lives are exalted, from confederate statues, to statues of Christopher Columbus and brutal conquistadors like Oñate

“When it comes to U.S. Presidents, what many Americans don’t realize is that the vast majority of them had policies devoted either to the complete annihilation or subjugation of Indigenous people,” says Sarah Sunshine Manning, NDN Collective Director of Communications and host of the While Indigenous podcast. “Even seemingly ‘good’ presidents like Abraham Lincoln aren’t known for the harm they’ve caused Indigenous people; Though Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, he also ordered the largest mass execution in American history with the hanging of 38 Dakota men in 1862– these were Indigenous people who were fighting for their lives.”

A #LandBack projection in downtown Rapid City on the Pennington County Jail. July 2, 2020. Photo Courtesy of NDN Collective.

“Every president whose likeness is carved into the sacred Black Hills at Mount Rushmore have legacies of white supremacy, anti-Indian policies, and colonization,” says Manning. “And it’s time that America evolves and decides to lift up a different kind of ‘hero’ — one that stands for more than just colonial victories that on one hand served a white majority while simultaneously harming Indigenous people.”

While America has largely been conditioned to minimize the harm caused by colonization, Indigenous people today continue to endure the residual effects of centuries of settler colonialism.  

“Indigenous people have resisted colonization for the past 500 years,” says Tilsen. “Colonization is the oldest form of white supremacy, and America is being called out and called up to acknowledge that. Mount Rushmore is yet another symbol of white supremacy and colonization, and until it is returned to the Lakota, we will continue to oppose it and fight for justice.”

NDN Collective expresses gratitude to our Black relatives for illuminating the ever-presence of systemic racism in American society today, and we remain committed to the ongoing struggle for our collective liberation.

###

Projection in downtown Rapid City on the Pennington County Jail. July 2, 2020. Photo Courtesy of NDN Collective.

About NDN Collective

Founded in 2018, the NDN Collective’s mission is to build the collective power of Indigenous Peoples, communities, and Nations to exercise our inherent rights to self-determination, while fostering a world that is built on a foundation of justice and equity for all people and the planet. Through organizing, activism, philanthropy, grantmaking, capacity-building and narrative change, we are creating sustainable solutions on Indigenous terms.

 

November 2020 Edition

Stay Informed. Take Action.

Subscribe to the NDN allies newsletter

Sign up to get our newsletter. Delivered once per month.

We care about the protection of your data and would never sell your email or share it with anyone without your permission.

Posted 1 year ago Alcatraz Canoe Journey: Honoring 50 Years of Indigenous Resistance and Persistence

Jade Begay

"If we work to reframe Alcatraz as a symbol for Indigenous sovereignty and reposition it in people’s psyche that way, it could be a very powerful thing, especially for people who are so often forgotten overlooked and marginalized like Natives in America."
Posted 3 days ago NDN Collective Responds to Inauguration of President Joe Biden
Today, we celebrate the collective work of our people and movements who have organized, built power and helped deliver one of the most important elections in history.
Posted 4 days ago NDN Collective Responds to President Biden Rescinding Keystone XL Pipeline Permit and Vow to Rejoin the Paris Agreement
The KXL pipeline was set to go through the heart of the Oceti Sakowin Territory. The people came together, resisted the fossil fuel industry and stood up for our lands, water and rights. We will continue to resist and fight.
Posted 4 days ago Indigenizing Education Equity: SD Ed Equity Coalition and NDN Collective ramp up efforts in 2021
As the South Dakota Education Equity coalition (SDEEC) prepares for the 2021 legislative session, they are asking individuals in support of their efforts to call their legislators, voice support for their bill and the concept of Oceti Sakowin Community Based Schools.
Posted 2 weeks ago NDN Collective Responds to DC Violence: "Dismantle white supremacy, Radically imagine a new future."
“NDN Collective vehemently supports the calls for impeachment of President Trump, but more importantly, and beyond this presidency, this moment illuminates the urgent need to dismantle white supremacy and radically imagine a new future.”
Posted 1 month ago NDN Collective Leadership Congratulates Rep. Deb Haaland on Being Named Secretary of the Interior
“We are excited by Rep. Haaland’s appointment and look forward to having a representative who has insight into Indigenous issues and priorities, so Land Back organizers can uplift our policy solutions and help fuel systematic change that benefits all people and the planet.”
Posted 1 month ago NDN Collective Awards $4.5 Million in Grants to 105 Indigenous-led Projects for Transition & Resilience
Announcing 105 Indigenous-led projects selected in Phase 2 of our COVID-19 Response Project under our theme of Transition and Resilience.
Posted 2 months ago NDN Collective and Oweesta Award $1.25 Million in Grants to Native CDFIs
This COVID-19 CDFI Grant Program is part of NDN Collective's NDN COVID-19 Response Project. These Native CDFIs will further their roles as the economic engines for financial sovereignty in Indian Country through the COVID-19 Grant Program.
Posted 2 months ago Announcing LANDBACK Now: A livestream show produced by NDN Collective
A Facebook livestream show about land, kinship and collective liberation. The show will stream at varied times on NDN Collective’s Facebook page with a special episode airing on Hawaiian Independence Day, November 28 at 7 pm CST.
Posted 2 months ago Shifting Power and Emboldening Indigenous-led Climate Solutions: NDN Collective on Bezos Earth Fund Grant

Nick Tilsen

A message from NDN Collective President and CEO, Nick Tilsen. "Receiving this substantial grant is part of an overall [NDN Collective] strategy to shift power, decolonize wealth, and resource Indigenous people who are on the frontlines of fighting for justice and equity."
Posted 2 months ago NDN Collective Leadership Urges the Biden Administration to Name Rep. Deb Haaland Secretary of the Interior
To book an interview, contact aprill@megaphonestrategies.com
NDN Collective
317 Main St #1
Rapid City, SD 57701
P: +1 (605) 791-3999
E: info@ndncollective.org
© 2021 NDN Collective. All rights reserved.