Friday, November 14, 2008

Mount Rushmore: A Racial Intimidator

Not too long ago my sister told me the truth about Mt. Rushmore. I had never been there or really desired to go. I know of it and have seen photos as well as learned about it in history class. The truth behind the construction of this monument is racism. It was not an innocent gesture to commemorate George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. It was a warning, if not blatant threat, to any race besides white, that whites ruled the United States of America, not blacks, Mexicans, or especially Indians.

During 1925 our country was robbing Indians of their land, rights, and lives. Gutzon Borglum, the creator, was not accepting of other races and the making of this place was not done with consideration of all Americans, just whites. Ronald Walters writes in his book “The Price of Racial Reconciliation”:

“Borglum’s contribution to the dominant ideology of the era not only exalts the contribution of whites to the making of America civilization, but tries to exclude blacks from the myth of America’s new creation. Borglum’s view of America was that of a white nation in conflict with other racial and ethnic groups, some of whom came before the Europeans, such as Hispanics and Native Americans, and others, such as Africans and Asians, who were used as laborers to build the countries material infrastructure. Mt. Rushmore is set in the Black Hills of South Dakota in the home of the Sioux Indians, who regard it as a desecration of the land of their ancestors. The monument to democracy was carved not only in a place where, but a time when, Indians were being hunted down, slaughtered, and set on reservations. Thus, Mt. Rushmore stands as one of the greatest ironies of America.” (pg. 8)

Mt. Rushmore was formed as a threat to the Indians living on the land. It was a statement made to demonstrate intimidation and control.

Charles Paul Freund says in his article "The many meanings of Mount Rushmore":

"It may come as a surprise to many that, for a few people, Mount Rushmore is actually a place of evil. But a New York-based grad student named Jesse Larner has written nearly 400 pages attempting to expose the mountain's negative side. In Mount Rushmore: An Icon Reconsidered (Thunder's Mouth/Nation Books) Larner argues that the sculpture is, in a phrase he quotes, "a monument to whiteness.""

Although most go there to see the artistry of the faces in the mountain, something saddens my heart because of the reason behind it. I would think we would be cautious as a nation against such demonstrations. I think of things like pride and selfishness.

If these really are the intentions of the reason for this monument then I will never visit this place. The pain and suffering the Indians must have gone through just makes me so sick.

3 comments:

Ami said...

I think it is incredible that criminals against humanity are willing to document and make monuments to their crimes. Like the Nazis that meticulously recorded their murder industry.

Mt. Rushmore should be left standing as evidence of the crime against American Indians, like the records of Hitler's henchmen that have proven to be valuable documents in the face of those that would deny the Holcaust.

Ami

BK said...

Powerful post, Olivia. Well done!

Angela said...

wow, I didn't know all that history, but am not surprised I guess. It seems that societies are always trying to "advance" while crushing others-- even the push for Christianity has been plagued with haunting abuses and I just knows it pains the heart of God. To recognize the wrongs and expose it, is part of the healing toward the road of wholeness, truth and love.