By Arturo R. García
Tomorrow is the deadline for an online fundraiser organized by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and Native American blog Last Real Indians in an effort to buy about 2,000 acres of land in the Black Hills of South Dakota, an area known in the Sioux Nation as Pe ‘Sla:
The land is central to the Sioux way of life, Iron Eyes said. Not only is it the site where, elders say, the Morning Star slew a creature that had killed seven women and took their spirits to create theSeven Sisters constellation, but it’s still used for religious ceremonies to this day. However, he added, the tribe bears no ill will toward the current owners.
“I only wish that he would do what’s morally right and work out a deal to sell this property to its rightful owners,” said Iron Eyes, who filmed a YouTube video explaining the tribes’ case for buying back the land. “We shouldn’t have to buy back something that’s already ours. But, we’re adaptable.”
The goal is to raise $1 million online. As of Wednesday morning their Indiegogo campaign had amassed just over $180,000. One of their biggest fears, Iron Eyes said, was that the state would build a road through the land. A spokesperson for the South Dakota Department of Transportation said that Pennington County, in which the land is located, does have a project on the table calling for the expansion of an existing gravel road. But, tribes in the area, including the Sioux, have been consulted on the project, and the option not to build on the land must be kept on the table at all times.
UPDATE (from Last Real Indians Tumblr):
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. The auction still occurs on August 25, 2012. The tribes must have 10% up front, per the auctioneers website, but the rest of the funds must be paid within 30 days.
This change in our fundraising deadline is also timely given today’s 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 fund raise and spread the word! A miracle is happening and you are part of it! We now have 17 days!
Pilamaye! Thank you!
Mitakuye Oyasin, We are All Related!
Chase Iron Eyes, Dana Lone Hill, Ruth Robertson-Hopkins, Sara Jumping Eagle