THE BLACK HILLS
THE BLACK HILLS
The white man offers us one hundred million dollars for our Black Hills. But one hundred million dollars would be insufficient to acquire our Sacred Mountain. No more than four hundred billion. They do not even pay the damage you have done. You can never compensate us for all that you have stolen and destroyed. You can never repay the thousands of eagles that you have killed, or the buffalo and other wild animals. And you can not erase your debt for all Indians that you have killed. The Black Hills are not for sale: we left this Earth, our ancestors are buried there and we celebrate our sacred ceremonies. It is the home of the Lakota and the Earth. How about if we offered you one hundred million dollars to acquire the Vatican. Do you think it's a chance that you have forcibly in the Black Hills and Badlands, only to find later that these lands are rich in gold, copper, coal and uranium? Today you are applying for uranium. But you will not get it. We are the guardians of uranium from Grandmother Earth. If you get it, you do not serve only to destroy the world created by God.
The Black Hills are for the Lakota, a Sioux branches, "the Heart of All That Is" or, in the words of one Elder, "the Black Hills are the heart of our country and the countries in our heart."
The Lakota believe that the Black Hills are the oldest formation of the world which alone would have withstood a great cataclysm, when Maka had had to shake to destroy evil, cleaning made necessary by "the destructive nature of human beings."
A four-day course was organized around the "Heart of All That Is" between the four-legged animals, very unhappy humans, and birds who had agreed to "run" for men. Nothing less than the survival of humankind was at stake. The birds had won and the men were allowed to continue to live and hunt animals for their livelihoods, if not to abuse their power and respect living things, the other children of Maka.
The Lakota have made an effort to live by an ethic of mutual respect (Ohokicilapi) in tiyospaye in the tribe in the world. The trace left by this race would be the curious formation of red clay that surrounds the Black Hills. This is the Sacred Circle (Cangleska Wakan), which corresponds to the heavenly world to a large circle of stars through Sinus, Castor and Pollux, Capella, the Pleiades, Rigel.
For fifteen years, a spiritual race for 500 miles (800 km) starting and ending at Bear Butte, is organized by the Lakota to renew the myth, pray that the people found their traditional ways and reaffirm the rights of the Sioux Nation on the Black Hills. The history of the Lakota still revolves around the sacred hills. It all boils down to Paha Sapa.
The history of the Black Hills the heart of the Lakota Nation
The treaty signed at Fort Laramie in 1868 put the mass of the Black Hills in the center of the great Sioux territory recognized nations and their allies Cheyenne and Arapaho. To open the hills with gold diggers and punish rebellious tribes, the Congress of the United States decided in 1877 the annexation of the Black Hills.
The Sioux and in particular the Lakota never relinquished their rights to the Black Hills. In 1977, the commission to examine claims Sioux Indian grants an allowance of $ 17.5 million for the loss of the Black Hills. In April 1980, the Supreme Court of the United States is the allowance to $ 105 million. One of the judges recognized that the seizure of the Black Hills was on the part of American power a shameful action. In a referendum held in June, the Sioux nations rejected the compensation claim and the return of the Black Hills, proclaiming: "The Black Hills are not for sale! Our ancestors died for the Black Hills. We do not sell!"
In turn, the tribal councils of the eight nations involved refuse the money. In 1985, a project from Oglala traditionalists for a refund of part of the Black Hills to the Sioux nation is presented before Congress by Senator Bradley Bili. He plans to travel to Sioux 1 / 7 the only solid national forests. Congress pushes. In 1989, a second draft is presented, the same as before, but demanding compensation for land remaining in the hands of whites. This proposal designed by the Grey Eagles, Veterans of Oglala, and supported in Congress by Senator Martinez is also rejected. Elected officials in South Dakota have formally rejected because it goes without saying that the white inhabitants of the Black Hills are largely opposed to any return of land to the Sioux. The elected Republicans in Congress, mostly hostile to Indian claims, believe that the Sioux were paid for the Black Hills and the matter is settled.
The legal position of the Sioux, however, is very strong. They have the Black Hills a "native title" as a result of long and continuous occupation of a territory by a tribal people, as recognized by international law. They have the Black Hills under the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 signed between two sovereign nations and therefore subject to international law. Several recent polls show that a vast majority of the Sioux, Lakota in particular, continues to refuse compensation amounting now, with interest, to nearly $ 400 million. Note that despite their poverty - the reservations of South Dakota are the most miserable of the United States - no voice was never high among the Lakota to demand payment of the money that is currently in the coffers of Ministry of Interior.
This is one of the rare examples where, in the modern world, we see money refused for reasons of morality and dignity. The Black Hills reported a lot of money to businesses located there. Mount Rushmore, which were carved in the 1930s the four giant statues of presidents, attracts crowds of tourists. Deadwood, where the Costner brothers have big interest is the city of casinos and it's in Sturgis, near the sacred site of Bear Butte, takes place every year the largest gathering of bikers in the world. The states of South Dakota and Wyoming share the enormous revenues of logging that destroyed the hills. Gold mines, terribly polluting, are very successful. Uranium mines in the area of Edgemont, now abandoned, left a huge amount of radioactive waste that pollute the waters of the eastern flank of the hills, flowing Pine Ridge.
The Lakota are painfully affected by the devastation in their sacred hills operated for over one hundred years. So they are very careful when, every fifteen years, the development plan for the Black Hills National Forest has to be redefined. It was in 1897 that logging in national forests of the Black Hills have been officially scheduled. Since then, about 150 million m3 of wood were taken from the Black Hills. The plan is to take effect in 1998 provides for the use of 10,000 hectares of forest per year to over fifteen years produced 3 million m3 of timber. Four large sawmills and six smaller trees continually debiting of the Black Hills. One of the officials who manage the federal lands of the Black Hills has given its approval for the drilling of a new gold mine where there are extracting 5.5 million tonnes of gold ore, resulting the spreading of waste rock in an area of 5 hectares of forest. Ranchers lease pastures to the Federal Office of forests. About 25 000 cattle to graze from May to September.
Indian nations that have links with the Black Hills feel they are not adequately consulted on development projects of the hills. The recent consultations between the Lakota and managers of National Forests of the Black Hills back to 1989. Many Indian nations have allied with environmental groups like the Sierra Club, Audubon Society, Wilderness Society, which for some, have filed suit against the Federal Office of Forestry's management of Black Hills.
The tribes of Rosebud and Standing Rock, and the Grey Eagle Society joined the Sierra Club's complaint, while the Pine Ridge Oglala were complaints separately. Sioux nations are particularly vigilant regarding the future of the Black Hills National Forest because it is precisely on these lands are the two bills presented to Congress in 1985 and 1989 for the return of part of the Black Hills Great Sioux Nation.