Known to the Lakota Sioux as "The Six Grandfathers" (Tȟuŋkášila Šákpe) or "Cougar Mountain" (Igmútȟaŋka Pahá), Mount Rushmore stands within the Black Hills of South Dakota: showcasing the 60-foot bust of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. The statues were declared completed October 31, 1941.
Mount Rushmore was conceived with the intention of creating a site to lure tourists, representing "not only the wild grandeur of its local geography but also the triumph of western civilization over that geography through its anthropomorphic representation." Though for the latest occupants of the land at the time, the Lakota Sioux, as well as other tribes, the monument in their view "came to epitomize the loss of their sacred lands and the injustices they've suffered under the U.S. government." Under the Treaty of 1868, the U.S. government promised the territory, including the entirety of the Black Hills, to the Sioux "so long as the buffalo may range thereon in such numbers as to justify the chase." After the discovery of gold on the land, American settlers migrated to the area in the 1870s. The federal government then forced the Sioux to relinquish the Black Hills portion of their reservation.
The four presidential faces were said to be carved into the granite with the intention of symbolizing "an accomplishment born, planned, and created in the minds and by the hands of Americans for Americans".
As Six Grandfathers, the mountain was on the route that Lakota leader Black Elk took in a spiritual journey that culminated at Black Elk Peak.
It is interesting that the sculpting of the four statues was forced to a halt on October 31, 1941.