Posted by on Aug 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

Center of the Universe

By: Dana Lone Hill

I think any of the people involved with saving Pe’sla would agree with me- the past few weeks have been a whirlwind. To campaign via social media doesn’t seem like it would be tiring, but it is. Collectively, we have blown this campaign through the atmosphere and back in the sky with keystrokes. We are still collecting funds. It is still of utmost importance, and the ticker on the Indiegogo site is counting down the hours.

This is all I have been able to eat, breathe, and sleep. By sleep, I mean I am even dreaming of this. I have been dreaming of someone texting and telling me to look at the ticker or check this out or that out; but I must say that in all of my life, never has anything been worth not sleeping or knowing if I was coming or going.

This is why.

Pe’sla. It is the center of the heart of all that is. The center of the Black Hills, the Center of the Universe. I remember the first time I heard that. I was a little girl in 4th grade and I lived in the country. We didn’t have any TV channels, but we had an old TV with an antennae that you had to run outside and turn and listen for the person inside to holler, “GOOD!” Only then could it pick up Sesame Street on a lucky day, and sunny day, for that matter. Every day was never that lucky though, so I read. I started a lifelong love of books. There was a little shed behind the house full of treasures like Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louisa May Alcott, Mark Twain, etc.

When I ran out of books, I started in on my mom’s books. I distinctly remember reading Black Elk Speaks at age 9. I remember, mostly, learning that he called the Black Hills “The Center of The Universe.” I had been to sundance and ceremonies up to that point in my life, and later to inipi or sweats, new moon inipi with other women and girls from the time I was 12 years old on. But that year I learned what Black Elk meant by the Center of The Universe.

We went camping. No one told me a thing- no one taught me too much. All I remember is my mom giving me a pinch of tobacco to offer to the Earth and pray. At that very moment, I knew why Black Elk said it was the Center of The Universe.

Because it was.

Because at age 10, I felt with my whole heart and I knew that the Black Hills were the Center of Our Universe and they were there to show us, to teach us, how to be and act as humans. The plant world, the bird nation, the other two legged, and the four legged, they all lived up in He Sapa with total respect for the Earth and in complete peace.

As humans, we had forgotten this way. As humans we got caught up in the rat race of humanity- of thinking money makes the world spin, when in fact the moon, the Earth and the sun make the Earth spin. We are so insignificant to them, and they are so significant to us. We need the Earth, we need the moon, and we need the sun. They have provided to our Indigenous people for hundreds of years, to all people, and they have not been returned the favor.

Now is the time, as Lakota, as Dakota, as Nakota, as Indigenous people, as humans, that we have to step up and take care of ourselves and our homelands; our sacred grounds. If we continue to think that we should depend on the government or if we continue to wait for the Black Hills settlement, we will die first.

We will do this. We will do this for our children. Ask yourself, would you have stood by your ancestors back in the day when they defended the sacred He Sapa? Have you stood by your relatives today in defending the same land?

This is our time.