United Native Americans Reclaims Mount Rushmore-1970





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Published on Oct 31, 2007

Part One.
In 1969, at a time when there were only ten Native American PHDs, Academic Revolutionary Lehman Brightman Founded & Coordinated The First Native Americans Studies Program in The United States at UC Berkeley. Two Months Into Assuming the teaching position at UCB, Brightman & a Group of Students attended the Annual Meeting of The National Congress of American Indians.

October 9th 1969 NCAI Held their Annual Meeting in Albuquerque New Mexico. At that Time, says Brightman, "it was the largest, most politically powerful Indian Group in The United States---Every Indian Of Importance was there."

Scheduled speakers included Vice President Spiro Theodore Agnew & Walter J. Hickel, the Nixon-appointed Secretary of the Interior and Edward Kennedy. At the time Hickel, whose Office Oversaw the Bureau of Indian Affairs, was leading a Movement to END ALL FEDERAL TREATIES with Indian Nations. ''We can't just let nature run wild,'' said Walter J. Hickel. Professor Brightman, who had Testified before Congress Against Hickel's appointment Organized a Picket Line that Booed Hickel Off The Stand. Later, Members of United Native Americans,Inc Duped The BIA into Signing a Petition Calling For Hickel's Resignation. United Native Americans,Inc Was The First Militant Indian Organization To Rise To National Prominence.

Walter J. Hickel served as governor of Alaska from 1966-1968 and from 1990 -- 1994 and as U.S. secretary of the interior from 1969 -- 1970.
Spiro Theodore Agnew- is the only Vice President in U.S. history to resign because of criminal charges.

Part Two.
Indians Invade Mount Rushmore

On August 29th, 1970, a small group of dedicated young Indians Invaded Mount Rushmore, the so called "National Shrine of Democracy," located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The Indian people who took part in this out standing feat, did so at the Invitation of the Local Indian people from Rapid City, South Dakota and the Surrounding Reservations. Most of these young Indians were from Different Tribes and Reservations who Volunteered to Help the Sioux in their efforts to force the Federal Government to pay for the illegal taking of their land 94 years ago in 1877. The Invasion started at 8:00PM. Sat. Evening, the 29th of August 1970, when 23 young Indians, most of whom were college students, braved arrest and fines to help the Sioux regain their Sacred Black Hills. By 7:00AM the next Morning after an all night game of hide and seek or (rangers and Indians) most of the protesters had reached the Top of the Mountain near the four faces of the Presidents, where they hung out a large flag, with the Words, "SIOUX INDIAN POWER." And After a Brief ceremony, they renamed the Mountain "Crazy Horse Mountain" in Honor of the Famous war chief "Crazy Horse."
The Principal Leaders of the Invasion were: Lehman Brightman, National President of (U.N.A.) Elizabeth Fast horse, Verna Gannon, Minnie Two Shoes, Chuggy Fast Horse, Chief Lame Deer, and Carrol Swan, who helped coordinate the whole affair. Once all 23 members had reached the top and assembled, they proceeded to Establish a camp and an occupation that would last for approximately three months, or until Severe winter weather forced the withdrawal.
The incredible story behind this invasion and Occupation started five days earlier, when the local Sioux Indian people from Rapid City, South Dakota and the surrounding reservations established picket lines at the base of the monument. But after four days and nights of demonstrations the park authorities were not only not listening, but seemed to think the whole thing was a big joke. That is until the local People invited out of state Indians and National Indian Organizations to Aid them in their heroic endeavor. After taking the mountain and occupating it for a period of ten days or more, most of the college students and others were forced to return to school or their jobs, but by then the movement had caught on and Indian People from Across South Dakota were visiting the Mountain bring Food and Water and Replacing the original invaders by two fold. This was the First Indian uprising in South Dakota since the Sioux Wiped Out Custer in 1876, and suddenly young and old alike were taking new faith, Indians were Fighting Back. During the Second day of the Occupation the park authorities sent a message they wanted to talk with the leaders of the group to determine what they wanted and how long they intended to stay, Lehman Brightman replied, "as long as the grass grows, the water flows and the sunshine's," which didn't seem to please them much.
For More Infomation On The Take Over of Mount Rushmore Check Out This Link:
United Native Americans Inc. Fighting for Natives Since 1968. Join us at


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