Wounded Knee is empty and quiet. No visitors come to remember. Yet there would be no United States without the persecution and expulsion for which Wounded Knee has become a symbol.
At the same time, millions make the pilgrimage to Mt. Rushmore each year to worship “the shrine of democracy.”
What do the Native Americans think about this perennial mass tourism that is happening on their own ground? Do the visitors know that the granite spires of the Black Hills into which the presidents were carved are sacred to the Indians of the Midwest?
What happens when the perspective is reversed? When a Lakota Indian becomes the director of Mt Rushmore? When white Americans stand at the sober mass grave of slaughtered Indians? How do the tourists confront the abject poverty of the victims’ descendants?
How do people live with the presence of the past in the present?
Is it possible for America to come to terms with its history?