The Upshot

Mt. Rushmore land should be returned to Native American tribes, UN official says

The Upshot

The four granite faces of American presidents on Mt. Rushmore could be on land that is returned to native tribes. At least, that is one of the recommendations from a United Nations Commission that some of Native American tribal lands be restored, including  the Black Hills of South Dakota, home to Mt. Rushmore.

James Anaya, a U.N. special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people, completed a fact-finding mission that will include the Black Hills suggestion as part of his assessment of the U.S. compliance with the  Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

According to the Associated Press:

The Black Hills, home to Mount Rushmore, are public land but are considered sacred by the Sioux tribes. The Sioux have refused to accept money awarded in a 1980 U.S. Supreme Court decision and have sought return of the land. The Black Hills and other lands were set aside for the Sioux in an 1868 treaty. But Congress passed a law in 1877 taking the land.

President Barack Obama endorsed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2010, reversing a previous U.S. vote against it. It is intended to protect the rights of 370 million native peoples worldwide. Anaya is the first U.N. special rapporteur on rights of the indigenous to visit the U.S.

Anaya said the report will likely be delivered to the U.N.'s Human Rights Council in September.

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