By : Autumn White Eyes
I’m writing you because we don’t have much time. You’re sitting at the top of my mind watching us surrender for you. We fought battles, cured sickness, dealt with massacres, carried our ancestor’s blood in our veins, our hearts, and never forgot that our birthplace was Wind Cave. We witnessed parades carrying the brains of our people on their sticks and watched them give Christopher Columbus his own damn day! We survived the heat and the cold in our Prisoner of War camps. We felt the sun beating down on us at every Sundance in South Dakota. We even started killing our own people, but we never forgot our birthplace—He Sapa. Some can still feel its breath down our spine as we beg for the money to buy you back.
I’ll never forget hiking you my senior year of high school. I sat with two of my best friends at your peak and had this conversation: “I just want to know my language. I just want to know what its like to have the Black Hills be only ours. I’m tired of seeing roads built through and gnawing at its glory. This is our glory and pride. Our Makoce.” We stood up and yelled the words “our land” in our own language and we prayed. We felt the power of the hills in that moment, which we will hold onto for the rest of our lives. Welcoming back the green things, the four-leggeds, our brothers, and our sisters. Welcoming back the Spring, and the chokecherries. Thank you for the cold but our relatives would like to visit again. Thank you for warmth, for everything beautiful. We were happy to see them come back; it’s the reason we prayed for you.
Pe’Sla, I’m sorry we have to buy you back like a Pope’s stolen bible. I’m sorry they don’t see you as I see you; as sacred. I’m sorry that my children may not get to pray with you like I did. I don’t know if you speak English, but Thečhiȟila
I will come back for you.