A Native Perspective on Mount Rushmore

If you were to stand in front of one public monument in your community and talk back to history, which monument would it be? What would you say?

I really like this short video of a Lakota man in front of Mount Rushmore, listing the anti-Indian sins of each of the presidents memorialized there. The narrator, Leon Matthews, has a great conversational style, along with passion for the subject. I also like the loose production values--the sound of the wind on the microphone and the children talking in the background. One could argue with some of the history (Lincoln also pardoned 265 Dakota who were sentenced to death after the Dakota Uprising). Still, this heartfelt and largely correct rejoinder makes us question the appropriateness of a monument to four agents of American empire in the heart of the Sacred (to the Lakota) Black Hills. Mathews has a YouTube channel of similar videos, along with a blog and occasional columns in the Lakota Country Times.

This is guerrilla public history, enabled by the digital age. An inexpensive video camera, a YouTube account, and a compelling message is all you need.

Which brings me back around to the question at the start of this post. What public monument would you reinterpret--either in your community or anywhere else?