ONTD Political

Sioux successfully purchase sacred site after protests over it going to auction

12:27 am - 12/05/2012
After months of high-profile fundraising that drew celebrities' attention and dollars, a group of Native American tribes has raised $9 million to buy a piece of land in South Dakota's Black Hills that they consider sacred, an official with an Indian land foundation said Friday.

The Indian Land Tenure Foundation president Cris Stainbrook told The Associated Press that the tribes raised enough money to purchase the land from its current owners. The foundation was one of several groups and organizations leading the effort to buy the land.

The deal was finalized Friday [Nov. 30th] , which was the deadline for the tribes to raise the money.

The land, known as Pe' Sla, went up for sale after being privately owned. Members of the Great Sioux Nation have been allowed to gather there every year to perform rituals. The site plays a key role in the tribes' creation story, and members fear new owners would develop it.

Tribal leaders from three Sioux tribes -- Rosebud Sioux President Cyril Scott, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Chairman Charlie Vig and Crow Creek Chairman Brandon Sazue -- released a joint statement Friday, saying they are happy to be able to reclaim one of their sacred sites.

Those three tribes were the only ones to contribute to the purchase, Scott said. Tribal leaders would not say how much each tribe contributed to the purchase.

The three leaders said they exercised their tribal sovereign authority.

"It's a great day for Indian Country," Scott said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. Scott also said that all Sioux tribal members are invited to the land and that tribal leaders plan to form a commission to preserve the land.

More than $900,000 was raised through online contributions, said Standing Rock Sioux tribal member Chase Iron Eyes. His company, Last Real Indians, led the online effort.

Earlier this year, landowners Leonard and Margaret Reynolds canceled a public auction of the property after tribal members expressed outrage. The Reynolds' then accepted the tribes' bid to purchase the land for $9 million.

The couple has repeatedly said they will not speak publicly about the land sale and did not return a message from The AP on Friday seeking comment.

The fundraising effort drew support from several celebrities. P. Diddy tweeted about it as did Bette Midler, who also donated. Midler said she was "happy and proud" to have helped out with the purchase.

"I've been talking about it to my friends, tweeting to the world and donating through my foundation because I think it's important for the soul of our nation," she said in a statement Friday.

Actor Ezra Miller, who appeared in the recently released film "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," and music producer Sol Guy flew to South Dakota last month to film a nine-minute documentary-style video about the land that was used as part of an online campaign to raise funds.

The fundraising effort has been a monumental and controversial undertaking for the Sioux tribes. An 1868 treaty set aside the Black Hills and other land for the Sioux, but Congress passed a law in 1877 seizing the land following the discovery of gold in western South Dakota.

A 1980 U.S. Supreme Court ruling awarded more than $100 million to the Sioux tribes for the Black Hills, but the tribes have refused to accept the money, saying the land has never been for sale. There are Sioux tribes in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska and Canada.

Some members of the Sioux tribes didn't agree with trying to purchase the land. Bryan Brewer, president-elect of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, said his tribe did not allocate any money to the land purchase.

"I'm still against buying something we own, but I'm thrilled the tribes' are buying it. I'm very happy about it," he said.

source: Minnesota Public Radio
Press release from the 3 Sioux bands

#1 initial article on the sale of Pe'Sla
#2 second article, where the UN gets involved
castalianspring 5th-Dec-2012 04:18 pm (UTC)
Good news! I am very happy to have donated even a small amount towards their goal. I still wish the land could have been given back to them free of charge, but it's still something.
blueboatdreams 5th-Dec-2012 06:14 pm (UTC)
Same. :)
darth_eldritch 5th-Dec-2012 04:21 pm (UTC)
I'm happy they regained their lands, though I will not look past the injustice that they had to fight for their lands in the first place.
sorchekyrkby 5th-Dec-2012 04:25 pm (UTC)
I'm very happy for them!
kitanabychoice 5th-Dec-2012 04:28 pm (UTC)
Yay! I remember donating to them shortly before their deadline and I hoped that some good news would come out of it. It sucks that the US pretty much fucked them over like three times on this and that it had to come down to them buying back the land they already owned.
nebulous_mirage 5th-Dec-2012 04:36 pm (UTC)
Yay, that's amazing!!
callmetothejedi 5th-Dec-2012 04:50 pm (UTC)
good news!
asrana 5th-Dec-2012 04:58 pm (UTC)
An 1868 treaty set aside the Black Hills and other land for the Sioux, but Congress passed a law in 1877 seizing the land following the discovery of gold in western South Dakota. A 1980 U.S. Supreme Court ruling awarded more than $100 million to the Sioux tribes for the Black Hills, but the tribes have refused to accept the money, saying the land has never been for sale. There are Sioux tribes in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska and Canada.

The fuck? These people had to pay $9 million for land that was already rightfully theirs?!

That is absolutely disgusting. At the very least Congress should have paid for it and given it back to them.
teacoat 5th-Dec-2012 05:57 pm (UTC)
Seriously. :/
terra_tenshi 5th-Dec-2012 07:06 pm (UTC)
I know it's a "principal of the thing" situation but I kind of wish they'd taken the $100 million to buy the land back and care for it in the future. It would have been an ironic sort of justice.
fenris_lorsrai 5th-Dec-2012 08:10 pm (UTC)
except the $100 million was for the ENTIRE black hills, so they'd give up claim on all of it.
thevelvetsun 5th-Dec-2012 04:59 pm (UTC)
This article kind of makes it sound like they only considered this one spot sacred. It doesn't even mention that the Black Hills were stolen from them almost 200 years ago and then we carved Mt Rushmore into the side of their sacred hills just to rub it in.

But, I'm very glad they were able to purchase the land.

EDIT: I see now where it mentions the history at the bottom of the article. I'm tired!

Edited at 2012-12-05 05:00 pm (UTC)
omimouse 5th-Dec-2012 05:26 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I learned about that from my Mom, who despises Rushmore for pretty much that reason Same as her, I refuse to visit the place, because I cannot imagine what the added insult of a constant stream of mostly white tourists must feel like to the Sioux.
oceandezignz 5th-Dec-2012 06:11 pm (UTC)
Same here. I couldn't go to that site without wanting to attempt to blow it up into faceless rubble.
thenakedcat 6th-Dec-2012 04:33 am (UTC)
My family stopped to see it about 10 years ago while passing through the Black Hills. To my relatives' credit, the whole family was kind of like, "...lolwhut. How would white Americans feel if someone bought the Lincoln Memorial and turned it into a Jefferson Davis theme park??"
violetrose 5th-Dec-2012 05:29 pm (UTC)
It's appalling that they had to buy land that was already rightfully theirs - but it's still good that they have at least part of the sacred lands back.
poetic_pixie_13 5th-Dec-2012 05:53 pm (UTC)
It's great that they managed to buy the land but, of course, it's bullshit that they had to scramble to raise money for what's rightfully theirs in the first place.
adalmin 5th-Dec-2012 05:54 pm (UTC)
YES! So glad they succeeded. I donated to their kickstarter and just watching the updates and struggles they had to go through was so frustrating, so I'm pumped that this finally resolved.
tabaqui 5th-Dec-2012 06:35 pm (UTC)
YAY! So glad.

But also so incredibly pissed. If the US govt. tried to give them 100 million, the US govt. should have either a) coughed up the 9 million from that money, b)ordered the land returned or c) helped pay for it.

The people who put it up for public auction also piss me off greatly. I don't know anything about them, obviously, as they won't talk, but holding out for so much money makes me think they're greedy fucks.

I'm just glad some of the land is back in the care of the rightful caretakers.
a_phoenixdragon 5th-Dec-2012 06:40 pm (UTC)
Wish they didn't have to buy back their own damned land, but I'm glad they were able to.
terra_tenshi 5th-Dec-2012 07:08 pm (UTC)
Does anyone else find it odd that they use Native American and Indian in the same article? Or that it appears that the Native American's are/were calling themselves Indians?
nonnycat 5th-Dec-2012 07:29 pm (UTC)
Actually, the terminology there is a little complicated. Some Native Americans find the term Native American to be offensive and prefer Indian; others find Indian to be offensive and prefer Native Americans; others still prefer other terms like First Nations, American Indian. It is generally safest to refer to an individual tribe, but that isn't always possible if you're talking about multiple tribes. (I have tribal ancestry so have been doing a lot of reading on various blogs by tribal authors and this is a pretty common subject.)

So, some journalists use multiple terminology in an effort to try to show that they aren't trying to be offensive. It is one of those things you are not going to get a consensus on.
terra_tenshi 5th-Dec-2012 07:35 pm (UTC)
Ah. I'm mostly familiar with the Salt River Pima (some of whom object to the name) because they live close to my home and the majority of them are militantly against the term "Indian" to the point where we've had fights break out about it so I tend to assume that it's generally considered offensive. The more you know!
nonnycat 5th-Dec-2012 07:49 pm (UTC)
Yup, I grew up literally across the street from the Nisqually tribe, and at least in the 90s and at that place, Native American was definitely the term to use. I started the last year or two looking up for more information about my own heritage (I am 1/8 Cherokee -- no, not a princess! lol) and found a lot of people talking about using the term Indian in a reclaimatory sense. I definitely see articles that still use Indian as a pejorative but this article seemed more like they were varying the words to apply to multiple groups.
illusivevenstar 6th-Dec-2012 01:53 am (UTC)
I myself prefer native american. But alot of natives around me will refer to themselves as Indian or rather, NDN.

Among other natives, I usually just say anishinaabe.
violetrose 5th-Dec-2012 07:40 pm (UTC)
I believe 'First Nation' is more of a Canadian term? I've only ever seen it used in references to indigenous peoples in Canada. I could be mistaken, though.
nonnycat 5th-Dec-2012 07:45 pm (UTC)
Yup, it's definitely Canadian in origin, but I've seen it used by US Native identifying people online. I suspect probably because of the internet -- people stumble on a term they like and decide to use it. :)
violetrose 5th-Dec-2012 08:00 pm (UTC)
Ah, that makes sense.
nonnycat 5th-Dec-2012 07:32 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so glad to hear this. I'd been following news on it for awhile as we donated and I wanted to hear the outcome but there's been nothing but silence for awhile. So very glad they were able to pull through and get the land, though that this had to happen at all is immensely fucked up.
darknessdivine 5th-Dec-2012 07:34 pm (UTC)
I saw this on their FaceBook page a few days ago and had to give a cheer.
tallycola 5th-Dec-2012 09:26 pm (UTC)
Good for them!
anjak_j 6th-Dec-2012 03:59 am (UTC)
I'm so glad that they got their sacred land back.
roseofjuly 6th-Dec-2012 05:24 am (UTC)
They shouldn't have had to buy it at all because it was probably stolen from them in the first place.
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