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

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.

 

July 2021 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 9 months ago NDN Collective Selects Ten Indigenous Radical Imagination Artists from Across Turtle Island
Over the next year, each selected artist will receive a grant up to $50,000 to support their community embedded project that envisions the future world we are striving towards.
Posted 2 days ago Memo: The Climate and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives Crises: Intersections, root causes, and immediate steps towards ending both
In collaboration with partners, NDN Collective’s Climate Justice and Racial Equity Campaigns provided this memo as guidance to the federal government on how to equitably address the interlocking crisis of Climate Change and the MMIWR+ epidemic
Posted 2 days ago Art as Activism: NDN Collective Collabs with Artists to DEFUND the Line 3 Pipeline

Brandi Douglas

Artists create and call others to join the fight to stop Line 3. Nationwide wheatpasting action occurs with some 6,000 Defund Line 3 newspapers making their way to over 400 groups and activists.
Posted 1 week ago Red Road To D.C.: NDN Welcomes Totem Pole Journey to Hesapa

Brandi Douglas , Brandy Calabaza

NDN Collective had the honor of hosting and offering blessings to the groups responsible for leading this year’s Totem Pole Journey creating space for rest, healing and community.
Posted 4 weeks ago Four Arrested after NDN LANDBACK Campaign Mounts Upside-Down Flag From 100-Ft Grain Silo
Action Calls Out Hypocrisy of July 4th, Uplifts Demand for Reparations and Justice 
Posted 4 weeks ago NICk Tilsen Files Motion to Dismiss Case, Citing Prosecutorial Misconduct and Constitutional Violations
The motion filed by Tilsen states that the Pennington County Attorney's Office's actions to punish Tilsen for his constitutionally-protected free speech violated his rights to due process and equal protection, chilled his First Amendment rights, and violated his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial.
Posted 1 month ago Application Phase Now Open for NDN Changemaker Fellowship
The NDN Changemaker Fellowship is a 12-month opportunity for Indigenous leaders to articulate their vision for social change, to identify the support they will need to get there and to invest in their own development, health, healing and wellbeing.
Posted 1 month ago Meet the 2021 Cohort of NDN Changemaker Fellows
Meet all 21 of the 2021 NDN Changemakers from Turtle Island and surrounding island nations who are actively making radical change and transforming their communities.
Posted 1 month ago "We carry the spirit of a People who are victorious!": Honoring the Battle of Greasy Grass

Brandy Calabaza

In a victory that transcends time, the Battle of Little Bighorn would become one of the most studied in history. Known as the “Battle of Greasy Grass” to the Lakota, and as "Victory Day" to many Native people today, this battle would also become a symbol of the continued plight of Indigenous Peoples to retain our traditional homelands, culture, and lifeways.
Posted 1 month ago "Our families deserve justice": NDN Collective on Haaland’s Announcement of US Investigation into Native Boarding Schools
“We applaud Sec. Haaland’s leadership in creating a concentrated effort to continue uncovering the dark history of Native boarding schools in this country. Secretary Haaland knows that the United States government cannot treat these horrifying discoveries as a Canadian problem, when the same practices took place here for decades."
Posted 1 month ago Disrupting Rainbow Capitalism: ‘We will not be commodified or erased.”

Brandi Douglas , Steph Viera

"Commodification of the rainbow flag and Queer culture does little to nothing to benefit those within the 2SLGBTQ+ community itself, nor does it address the violence continually directed towards these relatives."
NDN Collective
408 Knollwood Dr
Rapid City, SD 57701
P: +1 (605) 791-3999
E: info@ndncollective.org
© 2021 NDN Collective. All rights reserved.