Environment | National

South Dakota tribes seek $2M to acquire sacred Black Hills site

Pe’ Sla is a sacred Lakota site situated in the heart of Paha Sapa, or the Black Hills. PHOTO COURTESY/INTERESTED-PARTY.BLOGSPOT.COM

Tribes in South Dakota are moving quickly to raise $2 million to acquire more land at a sacred site in the Black Hills.

In 2012, the Oceti Sakowin, or Seven Council Fires or Great Sioux Nation, purchased about 2,000 acres at Pe' Sla for nearly $9 million. The site, revered for its connection to Lakota star knowledge, serves as a guide to the universe.

The tribe were planning for a second acquisition of additional land at the site. But they were surprised when the landowners announced the sale of another 438 acres in August, much earlier than expected.

"We were caught a bit off guard by the offer to sell the home site and remaining acres as we understood that the family was going to keep that land for a number of years,” Russell Eagle Bear, a council member for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, said in a press release today. “We were planning for a future purchase but they have changed their mind and now we must act quickly.”

The Indian Land Tenure Foundation helped the tribes with the 2012 purchase and is stepping up again. The deadline to close is quickly approaching.

“We agreed to help the tribes mobilize and reach out to the public in meeting their goal of $2 million by November 30,” ILTF President Cris Stainbrook said.

Last Real Indians, which led a fundraising drive on the Internet for the 2012 purchase, is stepping up as well. Executive director Chase Iron Eyes said "every little bit" will help the tribes protect and preserve Pe' Sla.

Iron Eyes said “if you can only give $10, it helps. If you can give $100, it helps. And if you can give $100,000, it will definitely help as the time is very short.”

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Native Sun News: Auction of sacred Black Hills site put on hold (9/4)
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