Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
If you make a contribution of $150 or more, you will become an official “Friend of the Planet” and receive a Friend of the Planet T-shirt or water bottle. You can also submit opinion essays to us for our consideration for posting on our new “Bright Ideas” op-ed page.
Our nation is in the midst of a moment where statues and monuments celebrating our racist past are being reevaluated and taken down. However, some on the political right have begun calling into question the validity of this conversation. Conservative media personality Meghan McCain wrote in a tweet that we’re “one week removed from entire cable news panels debating whether or not we should blow up Mount Rushmore.”
Coincidentally, as the Washington Post reported, President Trump is planning a massive fireworks display at Mount Rushmore on July 3, despite a decade-long ban on pyrotechnics at the iconic spot because of concerns about public health, environmental and safety risks.
Why This Matters: The Black Hills on which Mount Rushmore is carved was land that was designated for the exclusive use of Native peoples through a treaty in 1868. After gold was discovered there, the United States government broke its treaty with the Sioux which ultimately culminated in the Wounded Knee massacre.
The Sioux have worked for decades to reclaim this land, and their plight cannot be ignored. We need to have a national discussion about the appropriate future of Mount Rushmore.
Go Deeper: You can read about the history of how Mount Rushmore came to be. Its chief architect, Gutzon Borglum, was a known racist and Klan member. The monument was only completed in 1941, so it’s hardly a bedrock of American cultural pride.
Trump’s Controversy: Native American activists and tribal leaders have called for the removal of Mount Rushmore and see President Trump’s Independence Day celebration there as a glorification of its sordid history.
Oglala Sioux President Julian Bear Runner explained,
“I don’t believe it should be blown up, because it would cause more damage to the land,” he said, noting that Indian artifacts could be damaged. But there are other methods to take down the monument that would have less environmental impact.”
Axios reported that Bear Runner said President Trump failed to consult tribal leaders about his visit to the Black Hills, which the Oglala Sioux consider part of their Great Sioux Reservation and land that was never formally ceded to the United States.
So ultimately, why does Mount Rushmore even exist? As we discuss how to handle confederate monuments, the United States government should also sit down with Sioux tribes and begin a dialogue of what can be done about this monument that sprung from a dark history.
by Julia Fine Last month, we wrote about the outbreak of locust swarms traveling from East Africa to the Indian subcontinent. Now, as the New York Times reported yesterday, the locusts have made their way to New Delhi. The capital region’s fields, metro stations, suburbs, and more are now teeming with swarms. We previously noted […]
The House was set to vote to pass the Great American Outdoors Act, which will provide nearly $1B annually for parks and other conservation, but a group of Western Republicans has raised procedural hurdles that will delay final passage until late July, The Hillreported yesterday. And, a new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) urges the United States to launch a major effort—a “Race for Nature” — to help the nation’s agricultural producers, who are facing a bleak economic future, by increasing opportunities to pay them for their conservation efforts.
Why This Matters: As the CAP Report explains, “Family farmers and ranchers need lifelines…Bold and swift investment in nature conservation can provide one.”
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.