Neil Young 'not OK' with Trump playing his songs at Mount Rushmore: 'I stand in solidarity with Lakota Sioux'
At the event on the eve of Independence Day, two of Young’s iconic songs were played, ‘Like a Hurricane’ and ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’, prompting Young to tweet, “This is not OK with me”
Canadian-born singer-songwriter and activist Neil Young is not okay with his songs being played at the White House's Mount Rushmore event on Friday, July 3, on the eve of Independence Day. Young wrote on Twitter “This is not OK with me.”
The official Neil Young Archives account on Twitter quoted a tweet from journalist Morgan Matzen, who shared a video from the event with the text, “You’re kidding. ‘Keep On Rockin In The Free World’ is playing.”
Quoting another tweet from the journalist who shared the second video of another of Young’s songs playing at the South Dakota landmark, Neil Young wrote on Twitter, “I stand in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux and this is NOT OK with me.”
At the event, two of Young’s iconic songs were played: ‘Like a Hurricane’ and ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’. They were played before President Trump gave a speech claiming U.S. history was under siege from “far-left fascism”.
In his speech, Trump said, “There is a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance. If you do not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras and follow its commandments, then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted and punished. It is not going to happen to us.”
“Make no mistake, this left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American revolution,” Trump added. “In doing so, they will destroy the very civilization that rescued billions from poverty, disease, violence, and hunger, and that lifted humanity to new heights of achievement, discovery, and progress.”
This is not the first time a Neil Young song has been used by President Trump. In 2015, ‘Rockin' In The Free World’ was played during his presidential announcement. “Donald Trump was not authorized to use 'Rockin' In The Free World' in his presidential candidacy announcement,” Young's management company said then. The statement added that Young was a longtime supporter of Bernie Sanders.
Trump's campaign manager at the time, Corey Lewandowski, told Rolling Stone magazine that the campaign had licensed the song. He added, however, that they would respect Young's wish and not use it again. Lewandowski said that “Trump is a big fan and likes Neil very much.”
In February this year, Young published an open letter to the president. “Every time ... one of my songs is played at one of your rallies, I hope you hear my voice,” the singer wrote. “Remember it is the voice of a tax-paying US citizen who does not support you. Me.”
Young has also been a long-standing supporter of Native American rights. The land around Mount Rushmore is sacred to the Lakota Sioux, who lived in the area before gold was discovered by prospectors.
Last week, Oglala Sioux tribal president Julian Bear Runner said, “The lands on which that mountain is carved and the lands belong to the Great Sioux nation under a treaty signed in 1851 and the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. And I have to tell him he [Donald Trump] doesn’t have permission from its original sovereign owners to enter the territory at this time.”