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Why Native Americans Have Protested Mount Rushmore

While Mount Rushmore is considered a treasured destination for some Americans, to Native Americans, it can represent a stinging legacy.

The faces of four U.S. presidents gaze from a granite face mountain in the Black Hills of South Dakota. To some, Mount Rushmore is hailed as the “Shrine of Democracy.” To American Indians, the monument is typically considered a shrine of illegal occupation.

So while Mount Rushmore attracts some 3 million visitors annually as a tourist destination, it has also been the site of multiple American Indian protests and occupations. Among the most notable in the 20th century, were in 1970 and 1971, when Native American activists climbed and then occupied Mount Rushmore as a protest against what they declared as the theft and desecration of a spiritual site.

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