PIERRE, S.D. — Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe's Chairman, Harold Frazier, released a statement on the removal of the president's faces from a mountain in the Black Hills of South Dakota, known as Mount Rushmore National Monument.
"Nothing stands as a greater reminder to the Great Sioux Nation of a country that cannot keep a promise or treaty then the faces carved into our sacred land on what the United States calls Mount Rushmore," Frazier wrote in a statement released Tuesday, June 30.
"We are now being forced to witness the lashing of our land with pomp, arrogance and fire hoping our sacred lands will survive. This brand on our flesh needs to be removed and I am willing to do it free of charge to the United States, by myself if I must."
The statement is in response to the calls to remove the presidential faces from the monument. Protesters have been removing and destroying other statues across the country that depict historic figures who had Confederate ties or racist pasts.
President Donald Trump is expected to attend an Independence Day celebration at Mount Rushmore on Friday, July 3. Native Americans are planning to protest the visit and the monument itself that day.
Frazier said that visitors who look upon the faces of the four presidents — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln — and have a different perception of what the Lakota people see.
"Lakota see the faces of the men who lied, cheated and murdered innocent people whose only crime was living on the land they wanted to steal," Frazier said.
"The United States of America wishes for all of us to be citizens and a family of their republic yet when they get bored of looking at those faces we are left looking at our molesters. We are the ones who live under the stare of those who have wronged us while others have the privilege to look away and move on, we cannot."