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Taking a Balanced View of Rushmore

June 23, 2002

Having visited the Black Hills of South Dakota, I appreciated Susan Spano's article ("In Patriotic Times, Rushmore Calls," June 2) and the importance this place played in American history. I would like to emphasize an important point about the monuments that coexist there. Though Rushmore is a fantastic memorial, we must remember it was built on land that is sacred to Indians. As we view Mt. Rushmore we need to acknowledge the arrogance of beginning a monument to the American presidents in the sacred Black Hills 50 years after Crazy Horse's death.

Standing Bear, a Sioux Indian, wrote to Korczak Ziolkowski in 1939 requesting that he initiate a monument to Crazy Horse because he wanted the world to understand that Indians have their heroes too. History is always written by the victors, but in this time of conflict it is vital to take into account the voice of the defeated.

The Crazy Horse Monument is as culturally significant as Mt. Rushmore. It is a tribute to our cultural diversity, our inherent desire to right old wrongs and the strength of an independent spirit.

KAREN OPPLINGER

Long Beach

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When we went to Mt. Rushmore last summer, we discovered that Deadwood is a real town. Nestled in a narrow canyon just north of Rushmore, it was the home of Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok. They've rebuilt the town for tourists in the flavor of the Old West, with casinos and all. We spent a day walking the town, including the cemetery where Calamity and Wild Bill are buried.

H.E. KAMIYA

Palos Verdes

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