Students Gather at Mt. Rushmore
Effort Made to explain land struggle
by Karen Testerman
Indian Country Today. Feb. 29, 1996. B-1.
He Sapa: Not For Sale 2.29.96

BLACK HILLS, SD - Wanting to educate visitors on the struggles of the Lakota people, Lakota students recently gathered at Mount Rushmore.

The Lakota Student Alliance organized a public assembly at Mount Rushmore to coincide with an MTV filming of a performance by rock band The Presidents of the United States of America, which aired nationally President's Day.

The students expressed an alternative viewpoint of the four presidents carved in the mountain and the reasons why the Sioux Nation continues to refuse monetary compensation from the United States government.

"We still believe the Black Hills are the heart of our nation," students said. "We must negotiate the unconditional return of our land."

In 1980, the United States tried to right a wrong by awarding the Sioux Nation monies for the Black Hills, Docket 74-A and 74-B.

The U.S. admitted to blatant violations of the treaties calling it "dishonorable dealings" on Americas part.  The Sioux Nation refused the monetary offer and opted to pursue the return of the land.

Students were permitted to hold a peaceful gathering at the Amphitheater located near the Mount Rushmore visitors center. Topics ranged from treaties, the four presidents and the spiritual significance of the sacred He Sapa (Black Hills).

Responding to recent activities relating to the resolution of the Santee Sioux of Nebraska seeking its tribal share of the 1980 award money, the students emphasized that they would stand firm in resisting the relinquishment of the Black Hills for any amount of money.

With educational material in hand, it was clear, "The Black Hills are not for sale."

Tim Standing Soldier, who helped coordinate the gathering said it was a success.

"We wanted to educate the people. We handed out brochures and pamphlets, which contained information about the struggles of the Lakota people," Mr. Standing Soldier said.

"We were not allowed to carry signs in the park or on the trail to the visitors center."

The student alliance hoped to make an impact on the people who would see the video filmed by MTV.

"We wanted to open the minds of the public who watch MTV and give them an idea of what the Black Hills mean to the Lakota," Mr. Standing Soldier said. "I believe we recieved positive attention because we didn't find any of the pamphlets on the ground."

"The gathering turned out pretty good.  We spoke with people visiting Mount Rushmore and they were open to listening," Mr. Standing Soldier said.

"Three bus loads of students showed up for the filming. Our students talked with them and gave them pamphlets. It was good. We want to get the attention of the younger generations."
Related Item - Paha Sapa Chronology by Black Hills Attorney Mario Gonzalez
Related Item - Pamphlet: LSA Statement Re: Mt. Rushmore. 1996
Related Item - Mt. Rushmore Sculptor Gutzum Borglum was "high in the inner cirle of the klan" (KKK)
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