Not all capitalists are vampires. There are business people I know and admire, people who care about their companies, take pride in the work they do, and feel a responsibility toward the people who work for them. Okay. Good. But there is another aspect of American life, a recurring and corrosive experience of the kind of corporate/ business culture that is a cross between a gigantic bulldozer – something that just keeps on grinding mechanically forward, destroying whatever gets in its way – and a vampire. Their lust for money is like a lust for blood, irrational and deadly, and they suck the life out of everything. Gladly. Triumphantly. It feeds their lust, which has no end.
The Sioux Nation is a group of related tribes of plains Indians – Nakota, Dakota, and Lakota. They have related cultures, intertwined history, and a devotion to the Black Hills as the sacred heart of their world. And, they believe, of the whole Earth. Other Indian nations feel a deep connection to the Black Hills too: the Crow, Arapaho, Cheyenne, and others. The Lakota, who live so close to the Black Hills, have a particular sense of responsibility for protecting it.
There are five sites in the Black Hills that are especially important, that are sacred. They’re the sites of a yearly pilgrimage of prayer and ceremony, each site visited when the constellations are in the right place. The Black Hills were stolen from the Indians by treaty violation. Part is now considered federal land and part owned by individuals. But still, every year, the Sioux make their pilgrimages to the five sacred sites, at the appointed times, making ceremony not only for their own peoples, “so that our children may live,” but for the good of all peoples, for the balance and harmony of the Earth. The most important of the five sites is called Pe Sla. It’s the center of the heart of the world. The land Pe Sla is on is held by a family of ranchers, but for generations they have allowed the Indians to come onto the land to do ceremony.
But now, on short notice, the land is to be sold. Auctioned off this Saturday, to developers.
Now the Sioux are standing between Pe Sla and the Bulldozer, which is grinding its deadly way into the Heart of the World, headed right for Pe Sla. Which it will dig up and pave over and build pricy houses on, and sell to wealthy “owners,” and effectively destroy.
What, hadn’t there been enough outrages? Enough theft, enough lies, enough attacks on these people, on their culture and spirituality and love of the land? But no, it wasn’t that someone particularly wanted to hurt the Sioux. Not at all. It was just that someone – or Something – doesn’t care one dead rat’s worth about what harm might came to the Sioux, or to the land. It’s just that the Vampire-Dozer in the form of rich developers with rich clients in mind had caught the heady scent of blood – of money – in a near-pristine section of the ancient and haunting Black Hills.
So. What now?
By any rational calculation, nothing but the obvious. The Vampire-Bulldozer wins.
Come below the break and let’s consider that that a little further.
This is the link to the diary Meteor Blades wrote about Pe Sla Monday night; it has more background and information.
THe Sioux didn’t know this sale was going to happen until the very last minute. That seems to have been by design. Now they're trying to find a way to save at least something. Meteor Blade's diary includes a video by Chase Iron Eyes (Standing Rock Sioux), asking for what help people may be able to give.
So, my relatives, we are asking for your help, we’re asking for your prayers, whether you’re indigenous or not -- we feel that everybody is indigenous, that our spirits and our intrinsic values want to respect the universe. And so we’re asking for your help to protect this place, to buy back as much of it as we can…to protect this place for the benefit of humanity.There's a link for contributions. They’ve gotten a good response for starting so late – over $160,000 in just a few days. A good response. And the Rosebud Sioux are adding $50,000 – a major contribution from a reservation burdened by grinding poverty. Other Sioux groups will contribute too. But the total doesn’t yet come anywhere near even the minimum needed to buy juicy land that the developers are salivating over. And time is so short. The deadline is Thursday at midnight. On Friday, the money will need to be transferred to the Rosebud Sioux Tribal government, which is acting as fiscal agent for all the Sioux peoples in the Saturday bidding.
The whole area up for sale, 1900 acres, might cost as much as $10 million. It’s broken into tracts, which can be bought separately.
The smallest tract that will be offered contains the most crucial area, Pe Sla. At the price ranch land usually goes for, it would cost about $800,000. That’s a reachable goal, if money keeps coming in. But the area around Pe Sla won’t go for ranch prices. It’ll go for developer prices, and that puts the estimated cost at around $3 million.
That doesn’t mean there’s no hope at all. It’s barely conceivable, if some wealthy supporters weigh in, that the Sioux might be able to put down the required 10% at the auction, knowing that the rest of the money will be there in the required time. Or a foundation might offer a bridge loan that the Sioux can pay back over time. There are Kossacks (Kay Observer2 and others) working to contact foundations and rich individuals. I’m sure there are Sioux doing the same thing. Maybe, just maybe, there’ll be enough for at least the smallest, most crucial tract.
So please, give if you can. There’s no guarantee it’ll be enough, but it might happen. These funds flowing in over the internet just might be needed to tip the balance.
And If the people of the Great Sioux Nation are going to have their Heartland ripped away from them this coming Saturday -- damn. At least let them know there are some people who care.
But the joker in this deck, the weird, ironic, tangled-American-history joker, is that the federal government has a billion dollars – ONE BILLION DOLLARS – in a trust fund for the Sioux, specifically to compensate them for the theft of the Black Hills.
It was originally 100 million dollars, awarded by the Supreme Court forty years ago. And the Sioux nations turned it down. They knew if they took it that would be considered a surrendering of their claims to the Black Hills. Pressured and impoverished as those peoples have been, they answered with one voice. “The Black Hills are not for sale.”
Every year the government offers them the money. Every year they say, “The Black Hills are not for sale.” Held in trust, with compound interest, the money has grown to a billion dollars.
But now, though the Black Hills are not for sale, they’re trying to ransom, to buy back, at least a small piece of them. What better use of part of that trust fund than to ransom the most sacred center of the Black Hills, free it from the scrabbling of the vampire capitalists with their dreams of McMansions, and return it to its rightful caretakers? I don’t know how much can be done on short notice, but I know the feds did something at least generally similar once, when the Interior Department bought land for the Cheyenne.
But time is so short. And the government moves slowly. Congress is out of session, agencies are in their August doldrums. Obama is campaigning, and probably doesn’t even know this is happening.
Too damned many people don’t know this is happening, or don’t know that anyone cares.
So let’s do what Kossacks do best.
Let’s make some noise.
Let’s flood the White House, and the Interior Department, and the Justice Department, with calls and emails. Especially the White House. And Bill Clinton’s Foundation (which has access to a whole lot of money). And news media – that couldn’t do any harm. And the South Dakota Senators’ and Governor’s offices. It couldnt hurt for them to know that the rest of the country is noticing this.
Tell the White House and the federal agencies that this situation requires an injunction – by Friday! – to delay the sale. Because the title is clouded, and those most interested were not given time to prepare a bid.
The Black Hills were stolen. The Supreme Court said so. They awarded the Sioux Nation money, but they don’t want money. They want the Black Hills, safe and undeveloped. So our government needs to BUY BACK at least this 1900 acres of the Black Hills and return it to the Sioux. Or hold it in trust for them until the details of a settlement can be negotiated. The ranchers will get their money, the Sioux will get at least part of their rights, and the bloodsucking developers can go fish. THE MONEY IS THERE. It’s been waiting for forty years. Now is the time. Figure out how to make it happen. That’s what government is for.
Yes, we know there are a thousand thousand rules about this kind of thing. But there has to be some justice too. There has to be some justice. Demand that our government figure out how to make it happen.
People, I don’t know that we can carry this off, that we can affect a damn thing in so short a time. But we never know, do we? We may chant “Yes We Can” all day long, but we never really know if we’re going to make a difference in any particular struggle. But we know that sometimes we do. Sometimes, improbably, we help make history. So we have to try.
If the Sioux Nation risks losing their beloved Heartland this Saturday, let it not be in silence. The vampires love silence. It feeds them and drives them on. Let there be witnesses, let there be voices raised, let there be a demand that those in authority do what elected authorities are supposed to do, and make this right.
Make it right.
----------- ---------- --------
Phone: Comments: 202-456-1111
Dept. of Justice:
Office of the Attorney General Public Comment Line - 202-353-1555
E-mails to the Department of Justice, including the Attorney General: AskDOJ@usdoj.gov
Office of Tribal Justice: Director, 514-8812
Dept. of Interior:
General: Phone: (202) 208-3100
When calling DOI, you can leave a message on the general comment line, or ask for: The Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians
I haven't been able, yet, to find contact info for the Clinton Foundation. THis, however, is Bill Clinton's twitter account. Be respectful of the Big Dog, please :) @ClintonTweet