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Aug-23-2012 14:20printcomments

Two Days to Save Sioux Sacred Land

The US Government stole the Black Hills from the Sioux after gold was found there.

Sioux Sacred Land
Sign the petition: here with Avaaz

(BLACK HILLS, SD) - This weekend an area considered sacred by the Native Sioux people could be auctioned off to the highest bidder, to potentially be bulldozed into a road or a golf course. The Sioux have launched a last-ditch campaign to save their land - if we join them now we can stop the sell off.

For generations the Sioux have used this undeveloped but privately owned stretch of prairie in the Black Hills of South Dakota for important annual ceremonies, but this Saturday's auction could pave the way for its destruction. That’s why Avaaz member Sara Jumping Eagle, of the Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe, started a petition asking the government to protect the land by designating it a historical landmark. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has the power to do that, but to push him to use it, we need to show that the Sioux have support from every corner of the country.

There’s no time to lose, the auction is this Saturday. Stand with Sara and the Sioux tribes of the Dakotas to save this land from the auction block. Sign now and share with everyone:

Pe' Sla (“The heart of all that is”) is an area in the Black Hills of South Dakota, not far from Mount Rushmore, that’s at the center of the Lakota Sioux’s creation story, a place Sioux families visit every Spring for important rituals of rebirth and renewal. More than a hundred years ago, the US Government stole the Black Hills from the Sioux after gold was found there, and the treaty granting them “permanent” land rights was ripped to shreds. In 1980, the Supreme Court ruled on behalf of the Sioux Nation, ceding that their land had been taken unlawfully, but the Sioux have refused to accept compensation, saying the land has never been for sale.

Now with Pe 'Sla at risk of being lost forever, an unprecedented coalition of Sioux tribes have come together launching an online fundraiser to buy back the land, but with only days to go until the auction, they are nowhere near raising the millions needed. That’s why taking the land out from under the auctioneer’s gavel is the only real way to save it, and why Avaaz member Sara Jumping Eagle is asking for support from around the country to help stop the sale.

Sara tells us, “Pe ‘Sla is a symbol of a resurgence and belief in who we are as Lakota Oyate (the people). If somebody were to come and build a road or desecrate it in any way, it would be like the Wounded Knee Massacre happening all over again. Can you imagine the Vatican, or Mecca or Bethlehem being bulldozed for an amusement park?

Right now if enough of us support the Sioux and their fight to protect this land central to their tradition and their religion, we can help correct a longstanding historic injustice, and make the United States a little more united around the rights of Native people. We only have four days to stop the sale -- sign the urgent petition and please share with your friends and family:

From the Massai people of Tanzania fighting displacement, to indigenous tribes of the Amazon battling a destructive mega dam, the Avaaz community has long stood side by side with native people defending their rights. Here in the US let’s not let history repeat itself -- and join hands with the Sioux to protect what’s sacred.

With hope, determination, and spirit

Joseph, Ian, Emily, Emma, Ricken and the whole Avaaz team

More Information

Sioux tribes worry sale of sacred site in South Dakota’s Black Hills could lead to development (Washington Post)

The Sioux campaign to buy back the Black Hills that belong to them (The Guardian)

UN human rights expert calls on US to consult with indigenous people over land sale (UN News Centre)

Exclusive: Sioux Spiritual Leader Speaks Out on Land Sale at Sacred Site (Truth Out)

Black Hills Auction: The Auction of the Sacred (Winona LaDuke)

Pe' Sla: Help Save Lakota Sioux Sacred Land! (Sioux fundraiser to save the land)

This Saturday land considered sacred by the Native Sioux people could be auctioned off to the highest bidder - and turned in to a golf course or tourist trap. US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar can step in to save this sacred land in the Black Hills, but he needs to hear from us first. Sign now!

Sign the petition

Sign the petition: here with Avaaz is a 15-million-person global campaign network
that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people shape global decision-making. ("Avaaz" means "voice" or "song" in many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 19 countries on 6 continents and operates in 14 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz's biggest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.




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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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