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Sioux Leaders Condemn Trump’s Mount Rushmore Visit as COVID-19 Cases Rise

Sioux leaders had hoped that President Donald Trump would re-think his July 3rd trip to Mt. Rushmore, but the president is headed to South Dakota regardless for a fireworks and fly-over event just before Independence Day.

In a Thursday press release, Native American leaders said that they were worried about the rising cases of coronavirus around the nation.

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier said, “In a time of crisis, where more than 127,299 Americans have died, the president is putting our Tribal members at risk to stage a photo-op at one of our most sacred sites.”

Frazier said that the Trump administration has sought to “trample on our rights as a sovereign nation to conduct safety checks at our boundaries,” he added, “We will not allow this administration or anyone to interfere with our right to take measures to protect our people.”

Julian Bear Runner, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe said, “We are more than three hours from the nearest critical care facility. To expose our people to the virus would be devastating. And for our more vulnerable members who have underlying medical conditions, COVID-19 is far more deadly.”

Rosebud Sioux Tribe president Rodney Bordeaux said, “Our tribal governments also have rights, and obligations to our people to protect them. Apparently, the administration wants to punish Tribes for that. We will not stand by and let that happen.”

This isn’t the first time that some of the leaders have blistered with the monument, which they say is on their land, Julian Bear Runner said recently that he wants Mt. Rushmore taken down, but said that he wants it “removed but not blown up.”

The Associated Press has reported that a number of groups led by activists from the Native American community are planning to protest Trump’s visit.

Published in IJR

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