There is a big difference between memorializing four of America’s most famous presidents who are carved into the Black Hills of South Dakota and the hatred represented by clichéd sculptures to traitors erected after the Civil War across the South, with the explicit purpose of enshrining Jim Crow and perpetuating terrorism against black people (“Trump’s Rushmore visit sparks outcry,” front page, June 26).
Rather than fulminating about tearing down the Mount Rushmore memorial, we should all instead fully fund the completion of the Crazy Horse monument nearby. It is a powerful statement that all Native Americans should support.
Both can and should exist side by side.
Bruce Downing, St. Cloud, Minn.
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Having lived in Rapid City, S.D., for a few years, I’ve visited Mount Rushmore many times. The visitor center contains a complete history of its construction from start to finish. The important thing to note about Mount Rushmore is how the federal government funded most of it. Not far from Mount Rushmore is the Crazy Horse Memorial, another sculpture in granite — a sculpture of a great Native American leader who died to help protect his people against an invasion the federal government promised they would never allow ... but did. It’s not finished and no federal funds have ever been spent to finish it.
In this time where we are questioning statues and monuments, we should also question why those monuments like the Crazy Horse Memorial sit unfinished. When the president visits Mount Rushmore to see white leaders, he should also visit the Crazy Horse Memorial to see a Native American leader, a leader who gave his last full measure to protect his people from injustice. Hopefully he’ll learn about how the federal government broke a treaty (still upheld by the Supreme Court to this day), stole their land and enabled the mass murder of men, women and children that followed.
Norm Hickel, Prior Lake
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I find the article about the Lakota interesting, describing how their land was stolen from them.
Some of them state that Mount Rushmore is nothing more a depiction of the white men who stole their land, and therefore the monument should be taken down.
How far do you go back in trying to change history? The Lakota gained that land from other tribes. Do those tribes have the right to erase any symbolic features of the Lakota Nation? Who did those tribes defeat for their land? Do we go back hundreds of years, a thousand years? The history of man relates to acquiring land from someone else.
Bill Bunce, White Bear Lake
MINNEAPOLIS CITY COUNCIL
What happened to social workers?
Isn’t it rich ($63,000 over the past three weeks, and counting) that three Minneapolis City Council members are using private security after receiving death threats? Are they showing their privilege by employing security at taxpayer expense? I sure hope this private security is composed of counselors and psychologists and not gun-toting former cops now working as private security.
If the security being hired is armed, it would be the height of hubris and hypocrisy.
Thomas M. Sullivan, Edina
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The Minneapolis City Council is generating a lot more heat than light with its proposal to eliminate the Police Department. Rather than initiating the needed conversations about how to enhance safety for all our citizens, the council’s idea delays real action until after the November elections. Then, if the city charter proposal is adopted, we will have succeeded in rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic but won’t be any closer to implementing solutions.
Certainly, we could consider doing away with the department if the police union is unwilling to explore changes to the policing process. But we’ve hardly given them a chance to respond to criticisms, much less to display intransigence.
Enough posturing! Let’s put the community’s anger to work by initiating conversations between all the stakeholders: activists, police, local government, social workers, mental health specialists, etc. We need improvements that can be implemented quickly, not distant organizational reshuffling.
W. Perry Benson, Minneapolis
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It would be hard to be more wrong than Joseph W. Anthony in his counterpoint (“Yes, Minneapolis government is dysfunctional,” June 26): “I have lived in Minneapolis for 46 years. During that time what has the City Council done to clean up Block E and Hennepin Avenue? Nothing. ... Witness the absence of any meaningful restaurant or entertainment venues on Hennepin Avenue.”
The last 46 years is exactly when the City Council moved heaven and earth in numerous efforts to “clean up” Hennepin Avenue, particularly buying and renovating historic theaters, and steering the redevelopment of both City Center and Block E (the latter involved moving the Shubert Theater, the heaviest such move ever on rubber wheels). Over that time, the city even changed Hennepin from two-way to one-way and back again.
I don’t like everything the city has done on Hennepin — City Center and Block E are ho-hum at best, and I wish they’d lined the street with metal trees as proposed in a city-sponsored redesign plan — but you can’t say the Minneapolis City Council has done nothing.
Chris Steller, Minneapolis
Set aside partisan bickering, please
Making America better — “great” is down the road; “great again” is absurd — requires a government that works. Ours does not.
At local, state and national levels, American government is stuck. Partisan gridlock has party members opposing one another in a knee-jerk fashion, often before partisans know the issue at hand. If we cannot elect representatives who focus on the common good rather than party loyalty or crass self-interest, we will continue down the road to becoming a failed city/state/nation.
The police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked not only local but national and international demonstrations calling for dismantling institutional racism, yet our own state government functions (or should we say dysfunctions?) on rigid party-line voting that yields nothing.
Minnesota government failing to pass meaningful legislation to address systemic racism is an embarrassment. This is the major moral issue of our time, and we are at its center. Our advice to legislators: Put party loyalty aside and do the right thing. Now.
Sandra and Duane Cady, Shoreview
A shallow care for virus responders
It was only weeks ago that nearly every news source showed people openly praising our health care workers and first responders for their courageous fight to treat victims of the coronavirus, often at the risk of their own physical and mental health. So now, when many states begin to open up and allow people to gather in restaurants, bars and other public places, many seem to forget to follow a few simple guidelines to prevent a second wave of the pandemic. This selfish act says very loudly and clearly that their support for health care workers was shallow and that they really don’t care too much about health care workers and first responders being inundated with more cases than previously seen.
This virus will not go away until everyone does their part and/or we have a vaccine. Until then, we need to take care of health care workers and first responders by preventing the spread of COVID-19. Some people are inconvenienced by masks and social distancing, but that inconvenience is nothing compared to that experienced by those who treat the victims.
RICHARD JANSEN, Cumberland, Wis.
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