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Plan for Donald Trump’s fireworks display at Mount Rushmore draws ire

The event is expected to include fighter jets thundering over the 79-year-old stone monument in South Dakota’s Black Hills.

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US President Donald Trump is planning to kick off Independence Day weekend in South Dakota (Laura Rauch/AP)

US President Donald Trump is planning to kick off Independence Day weekend in South Dakota (Laura Rauch/AP)

US President Donald Trump is planning to kick off Independence Day weekend in South Dakota (Laura Rauch/AP)

US President Donald Trump’s plans to kick off Independence Day with a showy display at Mount Rushmore are drawing criticism from Native Americans.

Indigenous activists view the monument as a desecration of land violently stolen from them and used to pay homage to leaders hostile to native people.

Several groups led by Native American activists are planning protests for Mr Trump’s July 3 visit, part of his “comeback” campaign for a nation reeling from sickness, unemployment and, recently, social unrest.

The event is expected to include fighter jets thundering over the 79-year-old stone monument in South Dakota’s Black Hills and the first fireworks display at the site since 2009.

Mount Rushmore is a symbol of white supremacy, of structural racism that's still alive and well in society todayNick Tilsen

But it comes amid a national reckoning over racism and a reconsideration of the symbolism of monuments around the globe.

Many Native Americans activists believe the Rushmore memorial is as reprehensible as the many Confederate monuments being toppled around the nation.

Nick Tilsen, a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe and the president of a local activist organisation called NDN Collective said “Mount Rushmore is a symbol of white supremacy, of structural racism that’s still alive and well in society today.

“It’s an injustice to actively steal Indigenous people’s land then carve the white faces of the conquerors who committed genocide.”

PA