In recognition of spiritual significance to the Yakama Nation, the DOE designated Lalíik — Rattlesnake Mountain — a traditional cultural property in 2007. The Yakama Nation used that designation to fight public access in the past.
When Lalíik — a place to pray and contemplate — opens, roads will be built for climbing and hiking. That will be detrimental to promises made in the 1855 Treaty.
If Mt. Rushmore was open to climbers you'd see pockmarks on Washington’s face, but maybe that would be more realistic since he had a pockmarked face. Lincoln’s scars could be etched with hikers and climbers. People could take pictures of the climbers as they descend from Jefferson’s chin. Roosevelt’s face would be easy, with his eyeglasses as a perch to continue downwards.
We don’t expect the public to understand the purity of Lalíik, because the only part of their past they seem to remember is conquering and not acknowledging the true history of all of the tribal nations’ places and meaning.
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History like this is not in the public schools, thus not knowing who we are as a people and how everything on Mother Earth has an important purpose for us to continue to exist.
Carol Craig, Toppenish