jalen rose is right enough with the mount rushmore nonsense
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Jalen Rose is right: Enough with all the Mount Rushmore nonsense

Mount Rushmore
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I’m with Jalen Rose. We need to cut it with the repeated need to Mount Rushmore everything.

I’m a sportswriter and columnist, podcaster, frequent guest on sports radio shows. I get asked way, way too many times to weigh in with my Mount Rushmore of … whatever.

I’ve been, for years, resisting answering, in part because, Mount Rushmore is an overused trope, and more to the point because, as Rose pointed out last week, it’s offensive.

“Can we retire using ‘Mount Rushmore?’ That should be offensive to all of us, especially Native Americans, Indigenous people who were the first people here before Christopher Columbus,” Rose said in a video posted to social media last week.

This, of course, has met with manufactured outrage from some commentators on the right, who have used Rose’s comments on this as their latest excuse to moan on about wokeism.

Thing is, as with a lot of what the right would like people to not have to think about, there’s something to be woke about here.

The land on which Mount Rushmore sits, in the Black Hills of South Dakota, were reserved for the Lakota Sioux in the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie, before the discovery of gold in the area prompted the U.S. government to essentially ask for it back.

Efforts led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse to fight back against the land seizures led to a series of military battles, but by 1878, the federal government had asserted control over the territory.

The work to turn the mountain known to the Lakota Sioux as The Six Grandfathers into Mount Rushmore took nearly 20 years before being finished in 1941, honoring former U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

The memorial has long been viewed as an incursion by the Lakota Sioux, which took the U.S. government to federal court, and the U.S. Supreme Court, by an 8-1 vote, ordered in a 1980 decision  “just compensation to the Sioux Nation, and that obligation, including an award of interest, must now, at last, be paid.”

Money was put into an account, but the Sioux Nations have declined to accept the money, because acceptance would legally terminate their demands for the return of the land.

Basically, we can keep our money; they want their land back.

So, I’m with Jalen Rose on this.

“I call for you and for myself — I’m owning this, too — let’s stop using the term ‘Mount Rushmore’ when we’re talking about our favorite rappers, talking about our favorite movies, talking about our favorite players,” Rose said last week.

It’s not going to change the world if you do or you don’t, but actually, maybe, it will.

Chris Graham

I write books, two on UVA basketball, one on pro wrestling, one on politics, which is getting to be like pro wrestling more and more each day. I've finished three marathons, but I'm over that. Oh, and I'm a progressive who voted for Biden, but I'm over that, too. (We need somebody else in 2024!) Want to reach me? Try [email protected]