West River Democratic Socialists, in collaboration with Pejuta Press, released an art intervention connecting the visit of US President Donald Trump to Mt. Rushmore with the history of colonial exploitation and violence in Oceti Šakówiŋ territory and across the US.
Using the language of ‘Fat Taker’, West River Democratic Socialists (WRDS) seek to expose violence and greed of the US. “Translated from the Lakota word “wašíču,” “fat taker” is used to describe settlers whom since the beginning of settler colonial violence, take the fat from an animal without sharing or giving back in return,” WRDS issued in their accompanying statement.
The intervention centers around prominent symbols glorifying settler colonialism in the Black Hills/ȟé sápa. Taking images of the faces of presidents at Mt. Rushmore and the bronze statues of U.S. presidents that line the street in downtown Rapid City/Mní Lúzahaŋ Otȟúŋwahe, each U.S. president wears a large name tag that introduces him as a ‘Fat Taker’.
Through a statement shared on social media, the West River Democratic Socialists state “every single president of the settler United States is a violent fat taker. Donald Trump is just one agent of settler colonial violence in a long and tired tradition of theft and exploitation. We reject his violent entry to Očéti Šakówiŋ territory. This act, like his rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth, is a calculated act of aggression and provocation.”
“Trump’s entry to Hé Sápa (Black Hills) must be understood in the context of the long illegal occupation of the Black Hills by the settler United States and the settler state of South Dakota. South Dakota stands in violation of the 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty and, in violation, enacts overt violence on Indigenous relatives, the land, and all of the more than human kin. In 2019, the settler state accumulated record revenues for tourism at $308 million dollars; tourism in occupied territory is colonial theft,” their statement continues.
“All settler symbolisms (physical and otherwise) invite the erasure of and violence against Indigenous peoples and homelands.”
“Our position is not simply an anti-Trump position. It is an anti-colonial and anti-capitalist position that dreams of the imminent day that all lands occupied by the settler United States will be liberated.”
To read the full statement issued by West River Democratic Socialists, visit social media pages. Twitter – @westriverds; Instagram @westriverds; Facebook @westriverdemocraticsocialists
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