Native Americans to protest against Trump visit to Mount Rushmore

(BBC) – Native American groups are planning to protest against President Donald Trump’s visit to Mount Rushmore at the start of the Independence Day weekend.

Activists have long taken issue with the South Dakota monument to former US presidents, which was built on land sacred to the Sioux tribe.

Mr Trump will bring fighter jets and fireworks to Mount Rushmore on 3 July as his campaigning tour continues.

The controversial trip comes amid heightened racial tensions nationwide.

Mount Rushmore features the 60ft (18.2m) high faces of four US presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

The monument was carved into the granite rock face between 1927 and 1941.

But the land the memorial lies on – the Black Hills of South Dakota – was taken from the indigenous Lakota Sioux by the US government in 1800s.

Its sculptor was reportedly a white supremacist with ties to the Ku Klux Klan.

Some Native American activists say the land should be returned to the Sioux and the monument brought down. Others say indigenous groups should receive economic benefits from tourism to the site.

Oglala Sioux President Julian Bear Runner told the Argus Leader newspaper that Mr Trump did not consult with tribal leaders about his visit.

Another tribe member and local activist Nick Tilsen told the Associated Press the monument “is a symbol of white supremacy, of structural racism that’s still alive and well in society today”.

“It’s an injustice to actively steal Indigenous people’s land then carve the white faces of the conquerors who committed genocide.”

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