Is there a place for American Indian exhibits at Mount Rushmore?

In one of Oglala Lakota newspaperman Tim Giago’s most recent columns (published today in The Daily Republic) he mentioned the American Indian speakers and exhibits that were started at Mount Rushmore by Gerard Baker, the first Indian superintendent of Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Giago said that while the Indian speakers and exhibits have been a hit with many people, they’ve been criticized by others:

The native speakers and exhibits soon became two of the most popular features at the memorial, much to the chagrin of many white residents of Rapid City and the surrounding region. “These are our Hills and our presidents on display and the Indian things Baker is bringing to the memorial do not belong there,” was the biggest and probably the most ridiculous complaint.

Is there a place for Indian exhibits and speakers at Mount Rushmore, or should the memorial’s purpose be limited to honoring U.S. democracy and some of its legendary leaders?

20 thoughts on “Is there a place for American Indian exhibits at Mount Rushmore?

  1. Native history is inexorable from South Dakota history and is a major tourist draw for the state. There absolutely is a place for American Indian exhibits at Mount Rushmore, and it is something that I believe should have the support of all South Dakotans.

  2. This should not be an either-or question. There can and should be both types of exhibits.

    We honor our democracy by however belatedly recognizing that this was first the land of the Native Americans. Set aside the fact that the US govt. lied, cheated and stole the Black Hills from them; that we defaced their sacred Paha Sapa with the busts of their oppressors – presidents who expressed the need to wipe out the Indian race; that we continue to fail to meet our treaty obligations (It took the recent health care reform bill to provide ongoing funding for the IHS). Its high time we include a few enhibits about Native Americans. This is a national monument and it belongs to all of us.

  3. WOW pasque…you sound a little angry. I think that there is room for Native American exhibits. It is a part of our history in South Dakota and our nation. I don’t however think that it should overtake the real exhibit, which is the nations presidents. I do believe the U.S. has done some great things and this country has come along way in regards to native americans, white, African American, Hispanic…etc.

  4. myabe topics of Indians and non-Indians are offensive – hence the old race card- no one wants to talk about the elephant in the room?? feel uncomfortable- too bad- Native voter!!

  5. How about a discussion on anger. There seems to be so much of it these days.
    Done is done. Anger does not solve a thing. Go on!

  6. to sd,
    the artist formerly known as meeps had a better response.
    I’m not angry as much as I was annoyed at the implication in Seth’s question. He worded it as if the inclusion of Native American exhibits might detract from honoring “US democracy” and its leaders. (Which was the offensive reponse Giago referenced in his column.) I reacted to the either/or nature of Seth’s question.

    Maybe he could explain why he worded this topic the way he did. It was provocative – but not in a productive way, in my opinion.

  7. I agree. A simple suggestion to change topics brought all this on????? I don’t think it had anything to do with whether Indian topics are offensive or not. Not please needs to relax.

  8. New blog discussion topic are needed – here are four suggestions:

    1. On 3/19/10 Supt Graves pubicly stated that the district had a $50,000 anonymous donation for the new Quintal Stadium. Prior to voting to approve accepting the contractor bids for the new Quintal Stadium that were recommended by Graves during the 3/22/10 board meeting, the board had not approved accepting the $50,000 anonymous donation. Why had the board failed to do so? Was the $50,000 anonymous donation on deposit in a district bank account when the board members cast their votes to approve accepting the contractor bids for the new Quintal Stadium that were recommended by Graves during the 3/22/10 board meeting?

    2. Before approving a salary increase for the MSD 17-2 Supt of Schools, shouldn’t the Supt’s job performaance be evaluated in open session seeking public input from parents and taxpayers?

    3. Why was it necessary to meet in executive session on 4/26/10 to discuss giving the MSD 17-2 Supt of Schools a $5,000 raise?

    4. When students inadvertently or intentionally make poor decision, disciplinary actions are imposed by administrators with the MSD 17-2 board continuously siding with administrators. So what disciplinary actions are taken by the Davison County States Attorney and imposed by a circuit court judge when a Supt and school board inadvertently or intentionally violate the open public meeting statute by locking the doors to the building during an executive session to discuss administrator salary increases preventing a patron from re-entering the building after waiting for over an hour in the board room to address the board after the executive session ended?

  9. MSD 17-2 Wauch Daugs – You have some valid points of discussion. I honestly believe, however that the locking of the doors was not intentional. These people are not stupid.

  10. white man’s dilemma when avoiding topics of race or other- turn to psychology? sorry I don’t agree- many view points are expressed many ways- your implication suggests anger on someone’s part well where did you get your degree and in what? PSYCHOANALYSIS? Let’s stick to race relations without that reference. Sincerely- old sourdough!!

  11. I would like to start a discussion about the new soccer fields. I am interested in hearing how parents like the new location now that soccer is in session.

  12. I feel there is plenty of room for a native american president on mount rushmore. That is where great presidents go and if a native becomes a great president then being native has nothing to do with it. The direction of this question is odd. If someone asked if there is room for custer at crazy horse, what would the response be. Please move passed the whole race issue and treat people for being good or bad as a person and leave the whole race thing out of it. Why is there an NAACP? If I started the National Association for the Advancement of White People or a sholarship just based on being white, what would the response be? If Obama is a great president or a poor president, let him be listed as such. Not as a great black president or a poor black president. Being called the first black president is in and of itself the very definition of the very problem those that are so proud of him for being the first black criticize the rest of us for. That is crazy! Do you know who the first white president was or would you prefer who the first president was? Obama should be less concerned about being the first black president as he is of being the last president of this great country.

  13. Oh, you didn’t have to post that under the word “confused.” I think it’s pretty clear that you don’t get it.

  14. You are correct, I don’t get all the people blaming the world for their problems. Get over yourselves and the bad things that have happened to your great grandparents. My family was made up of a bunch of peasants with about as many choices as a slave had but it is over and done. Slavery is dead. Killing buffalo for food and clothing is done, the black hills are owned by tax paying people and it will never change. Would you prefer the fate of the Myans. Did the Spanish treat them better? For the sake of your own kids and their future, teach independence from the government and move on. Teach them that all people are created equal and in America, have all the oportunity they need to be successful as long as the government leaves us alone. Meeps, do you get that?

  15. Well, we are going to have to agree to disagree on the idea that all people have an equal lot in life. I guess I can’t just sweep under the rug the fact that certain groups of people have been, are still, systematically oppressed and discriminated against.

    Ignoring the facts of history doesn’t make it go away. Pretending that race doesn’t exist doesn’t make it so. What I was advocating in my first post is for the powers that be to at least acknowledge the injustices foisted upon the native americans by our government.

    That’s what I’ll teach my children – to learn from and acknowledge the lessons of history, to advocate equality for all (it’s an ongoing fight!), vote their voices, and to celebrate the differences among our cultures and societies.

  16. You are both right. No, we are not born equal. You might run faster then I, I might think faster then you. We do have equal opportunities. We can get an education, and work. You just may be smarter then I, but maybe, just maybe, I make better decisions. Life ain’t fair. It is what we make of the opportunities out there.
    History is important…..to learn and not repeat, but living in the past and carrying that “poor me” attitude will NOT help one in life.
    Lessons learned……..that is what is important.
    Now…….back to the subject…..
    (What was the question?) Oh yes, of course Native American display should be available to tourist. They are part of our history.

  17. Ok you are right. Now what. Lets go forward and recognize you can’t change the past. I totally agree that people have been wronged. They have been wronged since the start of time. But now what? Stop allowing yourself to be a victim and solve the unfair problems that all face. Some worse than others but you also must recognize that there have been people that we would agree have no chance at a good life and still accomplish great things, are good people and lead great lives. The opposite is also true, people have the world by a tale and still disapoint. Where we start clearly does not define who we ultimately become. Stop suporting the excuse of failure. I am not saying the unfortunate do not at least identify some have it harder than others but the sooner they figure out they can overcome and we as a society will support them IF they do their best, all will be better off.

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