Opinion

Ruth Hopkins: Saving a sacred Black Hills site from auction block





"On August 25, 1,942.66 acres divided into five tracts of land located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, is slated to go up for auction. In 2012, such an event isn’t extraordinary; except in this case the land scheduled to be sold to the highest bidder is sacred to the Oceti Sakowin, The People of the Seven Council Fires—the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota people. We are also referred to in mainstream circles as The Great Sioux Nation.

To the Oceti Sakowin, Pe’ Sla is The Heart of Everything. Not only does this sacred site play a key role in our creation story, it is said to be the place where The Morning Star plunged to earth, and saved the People from seven creatures who had killed seven women. The Lakota hero then placed those women in the night sky as ‘The Seven Sisters,” called ‘The Pleiades’ by western astronomers.

Pe’ Sla, also called “Old Baldy,” is vital to Oceti Sakowin star knowledge and provides evidence of our historical ties to the Black Hills as well. The Black Hills are a terrestrial mirror of the heavens above. Pe’ Sla, an open, rather bare expanse of land compared to its surroundings, corresponds to the Crab Nebula, a gaseous cloud remnant of a supernova explosion that happened in 1054 AD. It is no longer visible with the naked eye- but my people remember it."

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Ruth Hopkins: Black Hills Auction: Saving Pe’ Sla (Indian Country Today 8/15)