A GOP lawmaker wants to make sure the Mount Rushmore National Memorial monument will keep its name.
A California resident in July proposed renaming Mount Rushmore to “Igmu Tanka Paha,” a Lakota Sioux name that means Cougar Mountain, according to the federal Board on Geographic Names, western Pennsylvania news outlet TribLive.com reported.
But Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., days after the proposal, introduced a bill formally designating the mountain as Mount Rushmore. In June, he’d also introduced legislation that would bar using federal funds to alter, destroy or remove the likeness or any of the faces on the memorial.
“The overwhelming number of South Dakotans, probably well above 90%, want to keep Mount Rushmore the way it is,” Johnson told the news outlet — and his bill puts the kibosh on any renaming efforts, at least temporarily.
The U.S. Board on Geographic Names doesn’t act on any names currently under consideration in Congress, the news outlet reported.
The mountain, named after lawyer and businessman Charles Rushmore, is on land belonging to Lakota Indians. They have two names for the mountain: Igmu Tanka Paha and Tunkasila Sakpe Paha, which means Six-Grandfathers Mountain, according to the Board on Geographic Names.
The faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt are carved into the mountain.
“Mount Rushmore does represent our country’s attempts to get better,” Johnson told the news outlet. “It is focused on equality, and what brings our country together rather than what divides us.”
President Donald Trump visited Mount Rushmore for a speech on July 3 — and also issued an executive order in June aimed at protecting monuments, memorials and statues.
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