In a race against the clock, the Sioux Nation is fighting to save Pe' Sla, one of its most sacred religious sites. Pe' Sla, located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, is the epicenter of the creation story of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota nations.
4265 45th Street S Ste 111-39
Fargo, North Dakota 58104
Phone: (605) 268-0434
Alfred Walking Bull
Rosebud Sioux Tribe
605-747-5755, ext. 25
If one would perfer to donate through the Rosebud Sioux here is the link:
ROSEBUD SIOUX DONATION LINK
The Auction of the Sacred by Winona LaDuke (excerpt)
As the wind breathes out of Wind Cave in my face, I am reminded of the creation of humans and my own small place in this magnificent world. Wind Cave National Park is named for the Cave itself, called Washun Niya, or the Breathing Hole of Mother Earth, by the Lakota People. In this creation story, it is from here that they emerged to this world.
It is a complex cave system, according to scientists, we may only have a sense of 5% of the cave’s volume and breadth, and likely even less of its power. In the vernacular of some, this might be known as the “ known unknown.” To most Indigenous peoples, there is an understanding of the Great Mystery.
So it is that in 2012, the time of change and transformation in an American election year, and also according to the Mayan Calendar, we find that the smallness and the greatness of humans in a world around us, comes face to face with us in the Black Hills. A most sacred place- Pe’Sla, in the center of the Lakota Universe is up for sale, and values and questions clash.
As Lakota scholar Chase Iron Eyes explains, “…Pe’Sla, to the Lakota, is the place where Morning Star, manifested as a meteor, fell to earth to help the Lakota by killing a great bird which had taken the lives of seven women; Morning Star’s descent having created the wide open uncharacteristic bald-spot in the middle of the forested Black Hills. (On American maps, this is called, Old Baldy) …The Morning Star placed the spirits of those seven women in the sky as the constellation “Pleiades” or “The Seven Sisters.”
This is, the “Center of the Heart of Everything that is… one of a small number of highly revered and geographically-cosmologically integral places on the entire planet….” Sacred places, recognized under federal judicial review, Presidential Executive Order ( l996) and international law are to be protected.
On August 25, the Center of the Heart of Everything that is, will come up in on the auction block a Rapid City’s Ramkota Inn, destined to be diced into a set of 300 acre tracts, proposed for ranchettes, and a possible road through the heart, (and more divisions) of what has been, until now, a relatively un-desecrated sacred site. “We didn’t even know it was going to be sold,” Debra White Plume from Manderson tells me. “We heard nothing about it until we saw the auction announcement.”
Is it possible that not everything should be owned privately? While other religions have sacred sites, which are revered and protected, the Lakota continue to struggle to protect their most sacred of places. The Lakota sacred sites include Mahto Paha, Bear Butte, where numerous challenges to the annual Sturgis Motor Cycle rally have met with some success, and protections of vision quests at Grey Horned Butte (Devils Tower) from recreational rock climbers.
In the time of the sacred sites and the crashing of ecosystems and worlds, it may be worth not making a commodity out of all that is revered. A 2005 editorial in the Rapid City Journal points out that protecting Lakota sacred sites is of interest to all. “…Non-Indians have little to fear if familiar sites are designated as sacred; visitors are still allowed at Bear Butte, Devil’s Tower and Rainbow Bridge, even though they are being managed as Indian sacred sites. And in fact, expanding non-Indians’ knowledge and appreciation of the Indian lore surrounding such sites could lead to greater cultural understanding….”
Meetings are being held in most of the Lakota nation this week, with organizers hoping to secure both a stop to the auction, and a plan to protect Pe’Sla from the auction block and encroachment.
It is 2012, and it is a good time, in any calendar- election year, Mayan, or upon this earth, to recognize and protect what is sacred. Today I return to Wind Cave, and have the wind blow on my face, hoping to greet the Great Mystery and, perhaps, hoping to see something sacred preserved.
Petition to Give the Black Hills Back to the Lakota
The 1868 treaty that gave them the land was threatened in 1874 by General Custer’s exaggerated reports of gold in the Hills, setting off a stampede of prospectors.
Instead of protecting the Sioux from intruders, the feds sided with gold seekers and tried to buy back the land. When the Sioux refused, Congress repealed the treaty and stole 40 million acres.
As you have noted,the Fight for Pe’ Sla Campaign Team has decided to extend our fundraising deadline in order to raise more funds towards our goal of $1 million dollars. We are in direct collaboration with the Leaders of the Great Sioux Nations (Lakota/Dakota/Nakota) and have made this decision with their agreement as well. This is especially timely given the announcement yesterday, by the Sicangu Nation, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, of their allocation of $1.3 million towards saving Pe’ Sla.
This change in our fundraising deadline is also timely given todays press release by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Professor James Anaya. Professor Anaya “urged today the United States Government and the local and state authorities in South Dakota to address concerns expressed by the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota peoples about an impending private land sale in the Black Hills region of the central-northern state, that will affect a site of great spiritual significance them”.
We are excited and hopeful about this new development! Your letters, phone calls, petitions, and emails have helped! Keep it up!
Please continue to help us fundraise and spread the word! A miracle is happening and you are part of it! We now have 17 days! LILILILILILI!
Pilamaye! Thank you!
Mitakuye Oyasin, We are All Related!
Chase Iron Eyes, Dana Lone Hill, Ruth Robertson-Hopkins, Sara Jumping Eagle
UN expert calls for consultations with indigenous peoples over private land sale in Black Hills, South Dakota
GENEVA (22 August 2012) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, urged today the United States Government and the local and state authorities in South Dakota to address concerns expressed by the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota peoples about an impending private land sale in the Black Hills region of the central-northern state, that will affect a site of great spiritual significance them.
Mr. Anaya has received information about the auctioning of five tracts of land in the area of Reynolds Prairie, in South Dakota, scheduled for 25 August 2012, within which a site sacred to the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota peoples, Pe’ Sla, is located. These indigenous communities are concerned that the sale of this land will result in restrictions to their access and use of Pe’ Sla for ceremonial purposes. They are also concern that it may lead to a road development project that would diminish the cultural and spiritual integrity of their sacred site.
“I call on all concerned parties to engage in a process of consultation to find ways in which to resolve these concerns,” the Special Rapporteur said. “I believe such dialogue is necessary in order to help heal the historical injustices endured by the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota peoples and to allow them to maintain their cultures and traditional practices for future generations.”
“The views and concerns of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota peoples need to be considered regarding any private or government activity that would affect their right to continue to maintain their traditional cultural and ceremonial practices associated with Pe’ Sla,” he stressed.
The site of Pe’ Sla is located within the Black Hills, which the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota peoples consider to be sacred. The United States signed the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie with these indigenous peoples which reserved their rights to the Black Hills. The discovery of gold in the area led to a Congressional Act in 1877 that passed ownership of the Black Hills to the United States. The Lakota, Dakota and Nakota peoples have since then sought to recover the Black Hills.
The issue of the Black Hills in South Dakota is representative of the problems brought to the attention of the Special Rapporteur during his official visit* to the United States (23 April to 4 May 2012) concerning the efforts of indigenous peoples to protect culturally and spiritually significant areas that are no longer under their exclusive ownership or control.
The Special Rapporteur will present to the UN Human Rights Council his official report on his country visit to the United States in the upcoming weeks.
The UN Human Rights Council appointed S. James Anaya as Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples in March 2008. Mr. Anaya is a Regents Professor and the James J. Lenoir Professor of Human Rights Law and Policy at the University of Arizona (United States). As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any government or organization and serves in his individual capacity. Learn more, log on to:
For Immediate Release: Update: Pe’ Sla Auction Cancelled on Direction of Owners’ Representative
The auction scheduled on August 25, 2012 for the acreage called Reynold’s Prairie, also known as Pe’ Sla to the Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation), has been cancelled on direction of the owners representative, according to Brock Auction, Co., Inc: http://www.brockauction.com/upcoming.htm
The owners are not commenting as to why the auction has been cancelled. At this time, Lastrealindians, Inc. is consulting with Oceti Sakowin Tribes and attempting to find out more information. Updates forthcoming.
Well, Joe, all I can do is reside in the spirit of my good intention.
I'm on a fixed income, but I sent a small amount of money, and I cross-posted more widely among my internet contacts than I usually do. If my efforts were misdirected, so be it.
I do not know enough to comment on the politics of your blog; I was under the impression there was great unity in order to secure Pe'Sla. I am saddened to read this is not so, but very much wish for Pe'Sla & the Black Hills be returned one way or another.