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Great Sioux Nation Seals Deal on Pe ‘Sla: What’s Next?

Last updated on 2014.03.20

It's back, we're talking about the Black Hills again, and it's the right time for it to happen.

—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.

—Robin Lebeau, September 1, 2012

The Lakota People's Law Project and 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. That's why we still are who we are, because we have a land base.... It doesn'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.


  1. larry kurtz 2012.09.04

    Announcing a real estate deal before the closing can be troublesome. Did you hear when that is, Cory?

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.04

    I'm not clear on closing date, Larry! Let's hope we're not jumping some gun here.

  3. larry kurtz 2012.09.05

    Why not Rapid City? US genocide exposed in American Indian holocaust: ICT.

  4. Douglas Wiken 2012.09.05

    Strange the Sioux have all these sacred sites when they are relatively recent invaders who drove off the actual more indigenous tribes.

  5. Bill Dithmer 2012.09.05

    Several things here. First lets look at the dollars that will be spent for this land. The bottom bid for auction was going to be $6 million. Just using that one figure we can come up with these facts.

    $1.6 million is pretty good earnest money and it takes the remaining money owed to $4,4oo,ooo. If you pay that off in twenty years on a contract for deed it will be $220,000 a year, or $18,330 a month every month for the next twenty years. And that is without interest.

    With everything on both the Pine Ridge and the Rosebud allready owned by either the Shakopee or the Seminole tribes where will that money come from?

    Lets face it there wont be to many people that will want to give money when they will never hold title to that land. Pledges very rarely equal that amount of money in the bank.

    That brings us to another question. Who will hold title to this land once it is paid off? Who will be responsible for paying the taxes when they are due every year?

    I wish it were not true but I see the Reynolds family seeing at most $2.5 million before this deal falls through. Either that or The Shakopee tribe doing what they are best at, making money from the businesses they would put there. Could there be a Black Hills casino in the future for that tribe?

    Our Sioux tribes have to be realistic about this land deal. If their quest is for the return of the Black Hills without paying for it doesn't this one "pay to own" event change their whole demand for the hills return? Wouldn't they be a lot better off to use the money that is already setting in the bank just waiting to be used for just that purpose? They could then declare it reservation land and take it off of the tax rolls. And are they in fact heading in that direction?

    The Reynolds families have nothing to loose here. The Question is can the reservations afford to give that kind of money away and then have nothing in return when they have so many things that need to be addressed at home?

    The Blindman

  6. larry kurtz 2012.09.05

    The Sicanju Oyate will likely create an off-reservation, Bill. Doug: you just make me angry and you know it.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.05

    Bill D., I wonder: would the Lakota let development happen there? And even if the Shakopee took it over and pushed to develop, would that site be the best choice, so far from the Interstate, linked by only a county road yet to be paved?

  8. Bill Dithmer 2012.09.06

    Cory without clear title the Sioux would have no say in the matter. Lets say that the land sells for the very bottom end of what was expected. For that price the Shakopee would be getting the best deal even if the Sioux money part fell through. Six million is a whole lot better then ten million.

    The Shakopee are "movers and shakers and money makers." They are interested in one thing and one thing only. Making money for their tribe. There is nothing wrong with that, they have the money and the guts to invest in things that conventional money lenders would never touch.

    Now I'm not saying that what I have said is what is happening.But for the land deal to happen there has to be a money tree in the picture somewhere.

    As for roads and the location. The Shakopee have invested in infrastructure before,"on their own reservation," to make something like this happen. It made them rich then and it would just make them richer now.

    The BLindman

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