Saturday, 11 August 2012

At Risk: "The Heart of All that Is"

“The Heart of Everything that Is”—that is how the peoples of the “Great Sioux Nation” describe the Black Hills. The Black Hills are regarded as sacred, an integral part of the essence of life. Treaties in 1851 and 1868 recognised the Black Hills as land of the “Great Sioux Nation” but it did not take the United States long to break those treaties in search of the gold believed to be under those hills. Over time the land that had been granted by the treaties was seized by the United States government until only a very small percentage of land remained with the indigenous peoples of the Great Sioux Nation.

This land taking was denounced by the United State Supreme Court: “"A more ripe and rank case of dishonorable dealings will
never, in all probability, be found in our history..” (quoting the Court of Claims)in the decision rendered by the Supreme Court in United States v Sioux Nation of Indians in 1980.

Despite the denunciation, little has been done to restore the Black Hills to their rightful possessors. The loss of the Black Hills is not a lamentable historical fact. The loss continues right up until this moment in time.

Land that is privately held, the Pe’ Sla, one of the few remaining pristine areas of the Black Hills, and an area held to be deeply sacred by indigenous peoples, is due to be auctioned off on August 25. There are very realistic fears that the pristine and sacred prairies will be sold to development interests.

A campaign has been organised to try to raise money to purchase the land at the auction. This campaign is organised through LastRealIndians, Inc. More information on the urgent need for donations to save the land and how to donate, as well as the significance of this land, can be found here. Even a small donation will help—as many small donations add up!

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