It's back, weâ€™re talking about the Black Hills again, and itâ€™s the right time for it to happen.
â€”Chase Iron Eyes, September 1, 2012
Here is Pe 'Sla. It's no longer on the market. It's going to belong to all of you guys. All of you.
â€”Robin Lebeau, September 1, 2012
The Lakota People's Law Project and LastRealIndians.com issued a press release yesterday celebrating the success of their effort to raise enough money to buy the sacred Pe 'Sla prairie oasis in the Black Hills from the Reynolds family. The groups' leaders announced their victory at Eagle Butte Saturday. Here's video from their press conference:
I hope this deal is cause for celebration (and the Pe 'Sla rally planned for Wednesday, 5 p.m., at the Memorial Park bandshell in Rapid City has been renamed a celebration). I want to believe that the optimism I hear from Chase Iron Eyes when he calls the Pe 'Sla purchase a historic accomplishment and refers to a return to the Black Hills "that will deliver us to salvation." I don't know much about salvation, but I'd like to believe that this successful activism and Pe 'Sla itself can rally our Lakota neighbors to spiritual renewal and further activism.
But the buyers must deal with practicalities. The video mentions loans to complete the sale. And check out this cartoon from Marty Two Bulls: he shows General Custer chortling to Columbus and a conquistador, "First we stole the Black Hills. Now to get them back, the Natives have to buy them back. But this is the best part: even if they buy them, they have to pay a yearly tax to keep them."
LPLP activist Madonna Thunder Hawk said Saturday that "The land is priceless. The land is who we are. Thatâ€™s why we still are who we are, because we have a land baseâ€¦It doesnâ€™t matter how much money the tribes have to put up for Pe 'Sla. We have to have it." If by no other means, Pe 'Sla will demand ongoing activism from the Great Sioux Nation, just to pay the mortgage and the taxes and keep this land in the hands of all of the people.