I’ve written about this before, and it’s time to bring it up again: the struggle of the Sioux to reclaim their sacred land, Pe’sla, the Black Hills.
The original fundraising drive is done and the auction called off, but the effort continues. An article appeared in the New York Times (the first time I’ve seen it mentioned in a major news outlet) that details exactly why the Sioux are having trouble raising the money and what they plan to do about it: “Sioux Racing to Find Millions to Buy Sacred Land“.
They need to have $9 million by November.
To buy back land that already belongs to them.
But now, anxiety has replaced optimism as more than a half-dozen Sioux tribes, which include some of the nation’s poorest people, race to come up with the $9 million purchase price before the deadline next month.
Not only poverty stands in the way, but also the charged history: many Sioux ask why they should have to pay for land that already belongs to them, given numerous treaties broken by the United States and a landmark federal court decision in 1979 that called the government’s seizure of the Black Hills one of the most dishonorable acts in American history.
“It’s like someone stealing my car and I have to pay to get it back,” said Tom Poor Bear, the vice president of the Oglala Lakota Tribe in South Dakota.
[bold emphasis mine]
It is a complete disgrace that this is even an issue. The rights of Native Americans, the plight they face every day just to survive and keep their culture, their traditions alive, have been so glossed over and largely ignored by the government and the nation at large. We should all be ashamed that this is taking place.
Help them. Raise awareness any way you can, not just online but in person. Write to the local newspaper. Write to a national newspaper. Write to your congress person. Organize a protest. Donate money, if you can. Just do something.
The more we sit by and let this sort of thing take place, the more often it will occur.
What will you think when, eventually, this happens to you? What would you think if this were your church, your synagogue, your mosque, your temple, being held ransom by the government? What if this were the land of your family, your ancestors? How would you feel? What would you do?