Adam Ruins Everything Takes on The Rushmore State
Comedian and professional buzz kill Adam Conover from College Humor has officially brought his fact checking Adam Ruins Everything snark to South Dakota in billboard form. These photos are a from a set of front and back billboards on highway 12 between Rapid City and Mt. Rushmore. They are part of a campaign to promote season two of his web series (on College Humor) turned TV series (on TruTV). Here’s a news story about it from KOTA.
While the placement of these billboards is clearly to generate buzz for a TV show (Done and Done) by being edgy and controversial by going after our state symbol, nothing in these billboards is incorrect.
The stolen Indian land thing? Oh yeah. I’ve seen a few people in comment sections say things like “You could say that about all of North America” Which is a gross oversimplification of what happened. In the particular case of the Black Hills, the land was pretty specifically deliberately stolen. There is no story for the Black Hills of it being purchased for beads or traded away in a complex alliance. The Black Hills was specifically promised to the Lakota.
The Lakota defeated the US Army in Red Cloud’s War, prompting the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 and the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. The Great Sioux War of 1876, was a series battles including the Battle of Little Big Horn and eventually culminating in the Wounded Knee Massacre. In those treaties, it outlines what lands belong to who. In 1868 in particular, it gives greater detail on what lands belong to who, and how they can be obtained by the US government. The only way was to have the signatures from 3/4 of all males. After killing off of Buffalo and disease ran rampant through the tribes. A few leaders and their bands agreed to sign over rights to lands in an effort for food and to keep the tribe together. In the end, there was MAYBE 1/10 of signatures needed. The Supreme Court ruled the Black Hills were taken illegally. However, instead of returning the lands, the US Government offered money that was significantly less than what the land was worth. That money now sits in an account, but the tribes won’t touch it because they refuse to accept it and acknowledge the seizure of the Black Hills.
The History of the Black Hills and its ownership is way too epic of a story for me to get into in a single blog post but the “Stolen” label is apt. If you’re not a big reader, I highly recommend the History on Fire Podcast Episodes 16, 17, and 18 “The War for the Black Hills” (Parts 1-3).
And the back side of the billboard? Also very true. I happen to be a big Teddy Roosevelt fan but that doesn’t make the fact that they were totally buddies not true.
So did this billboard make you angry or did you see it for what it was? A deliberately provocative action to attract eyeballs to Adam Ruins Everything. Even a publicity stunt can have truth to it.