Mount Rushmore National Monument, Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota, from the series "On This Site: Landscape in Memoriam"
United States (Artist's nationality:)
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Unmarked recto; inscribed verso, on mount, along bottom edge, in black ink: JS.193.2 3/7 Mount Rushmore National Monument, Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota, August 1994 / P-September 1996 Joel Sternfeld
In 1868 the Federal government deeded millions of acres in the Black Hills of South Dakota to the Great Sioux Nation. Nine years later, when gold was discovered in the area, Congress broke the treaty and took the land back.
In the 1920s the state of South Dakota, eager to attract tourists, commissioned a sculptor to carve a colossal monument into Mount Rushmore. The Sioux still considered the Black Hills their own sacred land.
In 1980, the Supreme Court awarded the Sioux $17 million plus interest accrued since 1877 as compensation. The award is now valued at nearly $300 million, but the Sioux continue to refuse the money and to seek title to their land.
From the series, On This Site: Landscape in Memoriam
Chicago, IL, Museum of Contemporary Photography, “Loaded Landscapes,” 16 August - 13 October 2007.
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