Mount Rushmore: A Real Sight to See

My dad has always talked about how much he would like to see Mount Rushmore. As a family, we are determined to take a road trip some summer and gaze upon the unfathomable creation. As you all probably know, the heads of presidents (left to right) George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln are magnificently carved in the solid stone of the mountain. However, after learning in class about the “accomplishments” of these presidents relative to Native people, my enthusiasm has dwindled. Just for old time’s sake, let’s brush up on these featured men…

The first president of the United States: George Washington. This ole chap is known as the brilliant Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army; he won numerous battles in the Revolutionary War, and once appointed king of the young United States, he refused the offer and pushed for a free, democratic government. After being a major participant in organizing the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in1787, the first Electoral College unanimously voted him the first president of the United States. But no one would have known that in 1779 Washington “instructed Major General John Sullivan to attack the Iroquois people. Washington stated, ‘lay waste all the settlements around…that the country may not be merely overrun, but destroyed’” (source 1). He commanded the slaughtering of Iroquois people and the burning of their homes and land…what a guy…

The third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, is widely known for being the first United States Secretary of State, and for being the main author of the United States Constitution. But no one would have known that Jefferson commanded the US army to use lethal force against any Indians who would not move westward. He stole land without negotiation and without taking a glance at any treaty. In the Native American viewpoint, he is known for being a racist and literally a destroyer of Native people….what a guy…

Theodore Roosevelt is known for being the 26th president of the United States, the recipient of the first Nobel Pace Prize for negotiating the end of the Russo-Japanese War in 1906, the creator of the “Square Deal”, and when Roosevelt was the head of the Department of Navy (before his presidency) he led a group from Cuba known as the Rough Riders against the Spanish army in the Spanish-American War and thusly received the Medal of Honor. But no on would have known that he was a supporter of the extermination of the Indians, stating that the Indian extermination “’was ultimately beneficial as it was inevitable’. Roosevelt once said ‘ I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of ten are, and I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth’” (source 1)…what a guy…

As one of our founding fathers, Abraham Lincoln is thought of as not only as the 16th president of the United States, but also as the emancipator of the black slaves and as an overall peace-maker.  The same day this “moral” president signed the emancipation proclamation freeing the black slaves of the United States, he also ordered the hanging of 38 Sioux Indians on December 26th, 1862 in Minnesota. In other words, Lincoln ordered the largest mass hanging in United States history…what a guy…

These “founding fathers” of our nation, are taught as moral leaders in elementary through high school. Only the white-centered positivity is focused on and all the negative racism is brushed under the rug. The truth needs to be recognized and taught in schools, starting in elementary school. Just because America is now ashamed of what we have done, doesn’t mean we didn’t do it. Own up.

I still would like to see Mount Rushmore, it is beautiful indeed, but my gained knowledge will only allow me to appreciate the techniques of the art and the artist, not the portraits.

The Youtube video below features a Native American historian letting the truth be head about the presidents carved into Mount Rushmore.

Source one:

The well known presidential facts were obtained from Wikipedia.


About annieais101

I am an 18 year old freshman at the University of Illinois. Driving towards a philosophy major and a music minor, my number one priority right now is school work. However, when I'm not in school or studying for classes, music and my friends are my world. I can't wait to expand this blog and really make it my own! I've never done anything like this before, so it should be fun!
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