Tribes Seek $2 Million to Purchase Final Piece of Pe’ Sla LandsTweet
LITTLE CANADA, Minnesota—The Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires or Great Sioux Nation) is seeking to preserve the final pieces of Pe’ Sla this November. After purchasing 1,900 acres from the Reynolds family in 2012, the tribes were caught by surprise when the same landowners put the remaining 438 of their ranch up for sale this past August. Like in 2012, the tribes are determined to save Pe’ Sla, an integral part of their sacred homelands.
The Tribes revere Pe’ Sla as sacred land as it relates to the Lakota star knowledge and serves as a guide to the universe. Pe’ Sla means “the heart of everything” and is located in Paha Sapa, the Black Hills.
The official statement by the Oceti Sakowin after the 2012 acquisition of the Pe’ Sla lands read in part: “the land of Pe’ Sla was once protected by the 1868 and 1851 Sioux nation treaties. The United States violated those treaties and took the Black Hills in violation of the fifth amendment of the Constitution. Today the reacquisition is a historic event for the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people. The tribes will work together to form the Oceti Sakowin Sacred Land Protection Commission to protect Pe’ Sla. We will preserve the sacred site for traditional and cultural ceremonies and keep it in a pristine state for our future generations.”
For the initial purchase, the tribes managed to pull together a significant portion of the $9 million purchase price and were helped by contributions from the public in completing the purchase. The tribes will once again need the public’s help in raising the $2 million to acquire the remaining ranch home site and land on the Pe’ Sla sacred site and cover ancillary costs. The scheduled closing date of November 30, 2014 looms extremely near as the tribes work to raise the rest of the money needed to save the remainder of Pe’ Sla.
“We were caught a bit off guard by the offer to sell the home site and remaining acres as we understood that the family was going to keep that land for a number of years,” says Russell Eagle Bear of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. “We were planning for a future purchase but they have changed their mind and now we must act quickly.”
Because of the need to raise a large amount of funds in a relatively short time, the tribes have enlisted the help of the Indian Land Tenure Foundation and Last Real Indians, two non‐profit groups which helped with the 2012 purchase. “We agreed to help the tribes mobilize and reach out to the public in meeting their goal of $2 million by November 30,” says Cris Stainbrook, president of the Indian Land Tenure Foundation. Chase Iron Eyes, executive director of Last Real Indians, reminds those who want to contribute to saving Pe’ Sla that “every little bit helps” and that “if you can only give $10, it helps. If you can give $100, it helps. And if you can give $100,000, it will
definitely help as the time is very short.”