Opinion

Opinion: Sacred site within Black Hills still at risk of being sold





"An amazing idea took hold in the last few weeks. People from around the world decided that they could do something to right a terrible wrong that has existed for hundreds of years here in the United States. No one possessed the millions of dollars it would take to accomplish this, but 4,991 people offered pennies, dollars, Euros, and when they had nothing, took the time to write to the "Last Real Indians" with their prayers. And prayer can be uplifting, inspiring and the source of miracles. There just might be a miracle happening in the sacred lands of the Black Hills in South Dakota, where the Sioux Nation is fighting to save its most sacred site, the genesis of all of its creation stories, Pe'Sla.

Gold was discovered in the Black Hills in 1849, and General George Armstrong Custer led an exploration party there in 1874. The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 gave the Sioux land and protection from the encroachment of settlers. It was their land to begin with, but this is the sad history of indigenous people. The treaty was immediately broken when payment of reparations by Congress was reduced a year after the signing. A new treaty was offered in 1868 after Chief Red Cloud attacked a supply train using the Powder River road, but Red Cloud objected to restrictions on native hunting grounds. In 1877, the United States took away all of the land originally granted by treaty, established reservations, and allowed the government to put roads through the reservations for settlers to use in the gold rush. A hundred years later, a 1980 U.S. Supreme Court ruling awarded more than $100 million to the Sioux Nation for the Black Hills. Since the land was taken by force, the tribes will not accept the money. They maintain that it was never for sale and that they will never sell it."

Get the Story:
Georgianne Nienaber: Pe' Sla Sale on Hold but Sacred Land Still at Risk (OpEd News 8/23)

Related Stories:
Jodi Rave: Countdown to auction of sacred site in Black Hills (8/23)
Lise Balk King: Sacred site sale poses test for United Nations (8/23)
Johnny Flynn: Lakota people look to buy stolen sacred lands (8/22)
Winona LaDuke: Sacred site in Black Hills on the auction block (8/17)
Native Sun News: Rosebud Sioux Tribe leads fight on sacred site (8/16)
Ruth Hopkins: Saving a sacred Black Hills site from auction block (8/15)
Blog: Activists need help to prevent sacred site from being sold (8/15)
Native Sun News: Venerated Lakota site put up on auction block (7/11)