Republicans Fight to Preserve Mount Rushmore, Dem Call for Demolition

his week, house republicans proposed legislation to protect Mount Rushmore from demolition, alteration, or name changes, as activist accusations calling the monument disrespectful grow.

Dubbed the ‘Mount Rushmore Protection Act,’ the legislation would prohibit using federal funds to change, destroy or rename the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The bill, originally from Rep. Dusty Johnson, comes in response to criticism that has grown since former President Donald Trump’s visit and speech on the site for the 2020 Fourth of July.

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Johnson explained why Rushmore is necessary to preserve, even when acknowledging activist concerns.

“Our nation’s history is not without its flaws, but there is no doubt the faces on Mount Rushmore represent democracy, freedom, and the great American experiment. Removing or changing Mount Rushmore will not change the past and will not move us forward as a country. We must protect Mount Rushmore for generations to come.”

Atop protecting the landmark physically, the Johnson bill also ensures that it is referred to as Mount Rushmore in maps and documents.

Complaints about the national monument center around the fact that it is built on sacred Native American land in the Black Hills, which the settlers took after gold was discovered.

Former NBA player Jalen Rose called on people to retire the term “Mount Rushmore” because the monument sits on land that was “stolen… when it was discovered that it contained gold.”

One citizen of a South Dakota tribe told Voice of America in 2020 that Mount Rushmore is a “symbol of ethnic cleansing, forced assimilation and the theft of our territory.” He even claimed that Trump’s visit reminded him of the “continuing genocide of our people.”

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The Supreme Court agreed with the tribe’s complaints, declaring the settlers breaking the contract illegal. However, given that the Black Hills have been long settled and include a national monument, the court is offering 1.3 billion as compensation as of 2011, according to PBS. Regardless, given the land is considered sacred, the tribes would not accept the payment. They argue that as the land was never sold and accepting the money would be equivalent to a transaction, and have continued to push for at least a partial return of the land.

On these grounds, the Biden Administration has prohibited a fireworks show at the monument for this year’s fourth of July.

It is still unclear if this legislation will be codified into law.

Other stories you may want to read:

‘Amateur Hour’ Top MSNBC Host Chastises Biden Over Documents Scandal

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