The Skies Ahead
Mount Rushmore is a monument of colossal achievement built upon a complex history of conflict and cultural friction. Built in a land stolen through right of conquest, reshaped to fit the vision of a man who belonged at one time to the Ku Klux Klan, Mount Rushmore has defied the blood and tears of its history to become a monument to the very ideals of democracy and justice. It has also provides an unwitting example of the shifting perceptions of social justice among the very people who visited injury upon the Native population in the first place. It challenges its caretakers, the U.S. National Park Service, to defend the glorious achievements embodied in both its subject matter and its magnificent execution while at the same time correcting gross oversights and imbalances in the historical accounts preserved at the memorial. It challenges us as Americans to reconcile our national pride and the sheer awe at the accomplishments of humankind with the price that was paid by the Native Americans to allow for that monument to have come into being. It represents a challenge for the Native Population to rise above any feelings of deep seated resentment or anger at the symbolic desecration of a once-sacred landscape, to forge from the pain of a Nation what opportunity there can be for a future instead of a simple attempt to undo the past.
The divided nature of the circumstances and interpretations of the people and events surrounding Mount Rushmore even to this day are complex and contradictory, and in many cases entirely subjective. Mount Rushmore teaches us, above all else, that there are no easy answers. The history of how we came to our current place on the path is not something that we can change by ignoring it, nor redeem ourselves from by constantly reliving it. Whether you as an individual are inclined to look upon the Mount Rushmore sculpture as a shining testament to