Rocket’s Red Glare: Trump’s Mount Rushmore Fireworks Anger Tribes

“Sioux leaders object to fireworks displays on sacred land.”

“Tribal leaders in South Dakota plan to protest President Trump’s appearance Friday at an elaborate Mount Rushmore fireworks display, arguing that the event could worsen the state’s coronavirus outbreak and violates Native Americans’ claims to the Black Hills.

The objections of seven Sioux tribal governments — all of which had raised concerns as Trump officials were planning the trip — underscore how the president has become a polarizing figure regardless of where he travels in the United States. Critics of the president demonstrated outside of his recent rallies in Tulsa and Phoenix, and they will greet him once he returns to Washington on Saturday for a “Salute to America” celebration he has orchestrated to commemorate Independence Day.

National Park Service officials have not allowed pyrotechnics at Mount Rushmore for more than a decade, out of concern that they could set off wildfires and contaminate drinking water supplies. The memorial is surrounded by 1,200 acres of forested lands and lies next to the Black Hills National Forest’s Black Elk Wilderness. Just last week, a wildfire erupted six miles south of the memorial, destroying about 60 acres before it was extinguished with help from 117 firefighters and eight aircraft.”

Juliet Eilperin, Darryl Fears, and Teo Armus report for the Washington Post July 2, 2020.

SEE ALSO:

“National Parks: ‘Stay Home' vs. Social Distancing For Trump's Fireworks” (E&E News)

“Revived Mount Rushmore Fireworks Will Feature Trump But No Social Distancing” (NPR)