“This was seen by my nephew who is attending SDSU in his dorm bathroom our young Lakota men & women who are attending higher education institutions are also being educated on how racism still exists with their neighbors. For many of us who experience this for many years we learned how to tolerate this, yet for these young people they are traumatized.” - Wayne Weston
What about the Crow, Pawnee and Kiowa? Shouldn’t it actually be returned to them?…If we are in the business of returning land to original owners I mean.
That is a whole can of worms I don’t want to open, because then you have to consider the people that have been living in those areas for years now ( it should have never been taken from the original owners in the first place though) However if currently the original owners are still taking care of that land then they shouldn’t have yet more taken away from them.
I admit to opening the can of worms. The Lakota took the land in conquest and it was later taken from them the same way. So who does it go back to if anyone? I dunno, I understand the grievances given the Ft. Laramie treaty, but that treaty is not the fault of all the people living their now. I would think it just another crime to evict all of them.
True, I don’t know, this honestly goes into subject matter I’m not as well versed in as I would like.
Then to be quite blunt, why are you inserting yourself into this conversation, at this time?
You admit that your understanding of the situation is not that good. Right now, the situation is one of crisis, and your musings are not helpful, nor are they particularly accurate. It takes a lot of time and energy to educate people on these issues, on the history, on the way what you’ve been taught has been skewed…and that is not time well spent right now. But when you open up these conversations and suggest things, and wonder about things and question without really knowing what you’re talking about, you draw attention away from the real issue at hand.
Don’t do that. It’s disrespectful. It minimises the situation we are trying to bring attention to. If you want to have a side discussion about what you think you know about the area, please feel free to create a blog post rather than comment on this one.
colonizer privilege is the ability to conveniently redefine pre-contact conflict among indigenous groups as interchangeable and exactly the same as colonialism (as if indigenous peoples ever created an entire economy on the trading of scalps of those who they deemed racially inferior, built boarding schools designed to slowly and painfully crush the souls and cultures of its kidnapped students, and attempted to systematically destroy the lands and peoples they conquered)
colonizer privilege is debating who the ~real owners~ of a sacred site are when everyone (colonized) who holds it sacred is pouring their hearts and energy into doing what they can to make sure that site isn’t desecrated and is in the hands of people who understand its significance (and I mean everyone—there are numerous Native peoples aside from the Lakota who hold the Black Hills sacred, but you don’t see any of them starting this stupid debate and tryna create unnecessary and counterproductive divisions; we have faith and trust that the Lakota people will take great care with this land. I would much rather see the land in Lakota hands than to any highest bidder, who will not understand that the land is sacred and will most likely desecrate it in the name of development)
^^^last two comments… truth… however back to the real issue at hand: Getting the Black Hills back into the hands of the Lakota
Pe’ Sla is an area in the Black Hills of South Dakota (just west of Rapid City) that is considered by the Lakota people to be the Center and heart of everything that is. It is part of our creation story. It is a sacred place. We perform certain ceremonies at Pe’ Sla which sustain the Lakota way of life and keep the universe in harmony. This area is currently owned by the Reynolds family. They plan to auction off almost 2,000 acres on August 25, 2012 to the highest bidder. It is likely that the state of South Dakota will put a road directly through Pe’ Sla and open up this sacred place for development. The seven bands of the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota Oyate (people) aka Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation) have a collective effort to buy as much of Pe’Sla as we can at this auction (although we also believe that the land cannot be owned and that our sacred places were illegally taken by the United States). Yet we are trying to work within the current U.S. laws to regain custody of our sacred sites and prevent future road and industrial development. Our sacred ways must be protected and passed on to our future generations so that our children may live. This area of the Paha Sapa (Black Hills) is also home to many plants and animals who should also be protected. In fact, many consider that the area should possibly be a historical site, which would also assist in protecting it from future development as well. As Lakota people, our ancestors prayed here, at Pe’ Sla, at certain times of year, when the stars aligned. We cannot go elsewhere to pray. We were meant to pray here. This is what they do not understand. Please help the Lakota people. “Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.” Chief Sitting Bull, 1877 We have a group of young professional Native people that are dedicated to the promotion of education, health, leadership, and sovereignity among our indigenous Nations. Our goal is to assist in any way possible the purchase of Pe’ Sla by a collective effort of the seven bands of the Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation) - the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota people. All proceeds from this campaign will go towards that effort. This area would be open to tribal nations for ceremonial purposes. The plants, animals, water, and air in the area would be respected and honored. Please see http://www.lastrealindians.com/category/chase-i… for more information. We thank you for your hope in the future.
We are hoping to buy as much of the land that is being put up for auction as possible. The total amount of land is 1,942.66 acres which is in 5 tracts (300 - 440 acres each). It is diffcult to say how much this land would be sold for as developers may increase the true western “value”.
The Rosebud Sioux Tribe has designated $50,000 for the purpose of purchasing Pe’ Sla land. By contributing to the effort of all the Sioux Tribes, we aim to purchase at least some of the tracts, if not all. Many of the Sioux Tribes continue to exist in poverty and do not have a thriving casino-based economy as the media may have portrayed. Yet we continue to fight for what is sacred, because it matters!
Lakota Charm, a small online jewelry business run by a disabled Lakota woman and her husband, is applying for a $250,000 grant from Chase Bank to open up a physical location and expand their operations to offer a wider selection of fashion from both the artists at Lakota Charm, as well as other contracted indigenous artists. The couple that run Lakota Charm are really great people and talented artists, and 10% of the proceeds of all sales of their gorgeous jewelry goes towards children’s programs on the Pine Ridge reservation.
support indigenous designers and follow the instructions on the link to vote for Lakota Charm! they need at least 250 votes to be eligible, but the more the better!
Reblogging this again because:
- indigenous businesses and livelihoods are beyond important
- it doesn’t fucking cost anything to vote
Here we are, sitting on Teddy Roosevelt’s head, giving him a headache, maybe. If we get tired of the view from here, we move over and sit for a while on Washington or Lincoln or Jefferson, but Teddy is by far the best. There is moss growing near the back of his skull, lots of trees, firewood, boulders to lean your back against, a little hollow surrounded by pines, which makes a nice camping ground- especially with that cliff rising behind it on which that big “Red Power- Indian Land” sign is painted. It looks nice, doesn’t it? Actually, we’re not sitting exactly on Teddy’s head, which is bald and smooth, but in back of it, halfway toward Lincoln. We are really higher than any of these heads. One good thing abut being on top of Mount Rushmore, it’s the only place around here where you don’t have to look at those big faces, these giant tourist curios, ashtrays, paperweights. I know a Santee Indian who some years ago climbed up here one night with a few friends just to pee down on the nose of one of those faces. He called it a “symbolic gesture.” The way he told it to me it was quite a feat. They had to form a human chain to make it possible for him to do it.
Don’t get me wrong- we hold no grudge against Lincoln, Jefferson, or Washington. They signed a few good treaties with us and it wasn’t their fault that they weren’t kept. What we object to is the white man’s arrogance and self-love, his disregard for nature which makes him desecrate one of our holy mountains with these oversized pale faces. It’s symbolic, too, that his “Shrine of Democracy,” these four faces, are up to their chins in one tremendous pile or rubble, a million tons of jagged blasted, dynamited stone reaching all the way down to the visitors’ center. If you look up the mountain the way most tourists do, you see those four heads rising out of something like a gigantic, abandoned mine dump. But nobody seems to notice that.
It’s funny that we all got the sudden urge to be up here- you, a white artist with your wife, I, an old Sioux medicine man, a handful of Indian ladies with their children and grandchildren, and a bunch of young, angry “Red Power” kids. We are all different and have come here for different reasons, each of us bringing his own private anger with him. Well, a good anger is a good thing too. It could turn into love in the end. Anger is something we can all share like food.
Listen, my white friend Richard here told me some reasons why he doesn’t like Mount Rushmore. We Indians have many reasons why we don’t like it, but he has thought up a few we never hit on. He calls these faces one big white ego trip. He says good art can’t be made with a jackhammer, and I think, being an artist, he knows what he is talking about. He says that anything which is in disharmony with nature is bad art. Even if Michelangelo had made this monument it would still be ugly, because it fits into these mountains, our sacred Black Hills, like a red-hot iron poker into somebody’s eye. Did I get you right so far?
Richard also called it a disease of our society-I guess you meant white society, not us- to confuse bigness with greatness. I got this right anyway, because that’s what we think, too, but you also told me something I had not known before. It was this: that the only other mountains carved up like Rushmore are some huge cliffs in Asia. They always show some Babylonian big cheese, or Egyptian pharaoh, trampling some people underfoot, and the inscriptions always go like this: “I, the great king, the king of kings, the living god, I smote fifty towns over there and buried the inhabitants alive, and I smashed fifty cities down here and had everybody impaled, and I conquered another fifty places on this side and had everybody in them burned up, and to show you what a big guy I am, I had a thousand slaves carve up this mountain.”
That really got me thinking. What does this Mount Rushmore mean to us Indians? It means that these big white faces are telling us, “First we gave you Indians a treaty that you could keep these Black Hills forever, as long as the sun would shine, in exchange for all the Dakotas, Wyoming and Montana. Then we found the gold and took this last piece of land, because we were stronger, and there were more of us than there were of you, and because we had cannons and Gatling guns, while you hadn’t even progressed far enough to make a steel knife. And you didn’t want to leave, we wiped you out, and those of you who survived we put on reservations. And then we took the gold out, a billion bucks, and we aren’t through yet. And because we like the tourist dollars, too, we have made your sacred Black Hills into one vast Disneyland. And after we did all this we carved up this mountain, the dwelling place of your spirits, and put our four gleaming white faces here. We are the conquerors.”
And a million or more tourists every year look up at those faces and feel good, real good, because they make them feel big and powerful, because they own kind of people made these faces and the tourists are thinking: “We are white, and we made this, what we want we get, and nothing can stop us.” Maybe they won’t admit it to themselves, but that’s what many of them are thinking deep down inside. And this is what conquering means. They could just as well have carved this mountain into a huge cavalry boot standing on a dead Indian.
One man’s shrine is another man’s cemetery, except that now a few white folks are also getting tired of having to look at this big paperweight curio. We can’t get away from it. You could make a lovely mountain into a great paperweight, but you can’t make it into a wild, natural mountain again? I don’t think you have the know-how for that.
A reporter from the Rapid City Journal asked me why I come up here. I told him that the Presidents’ faces on Mount Rushmore had become dirty and hat I wanted to plant a staff up there, like an altar, on the very top making this a sacred mountain again. That guy really looked puzzled. For a while he said nothing. Finally he asked, “What is the true significance of this staff?” I told him, “The lower part of the staff is painted black. That stands for night. It stands for black face paint in war. It also represents people praying, either with their eyes closed or in the dark. IT also means that I am putting a blanket or shroud, over the mountain by planting this staff, and he Presidents’ faces shall remain dirty until treaties concerning the Black Hills are fulfilled, the Black Hills will be covered with brightness again, but this could take some time. In the meantime we Indians renamed Mount Rushmore ‘Crazy Horse Mountain.’”
“Well,” said the reporter, “I hope I’ve gotten all this right.” I told him I hoped so, too.
Now, Richard here had another good idea. He said there should be a law that all statues over a hundred feet high should be put in abandoned mine shafts. This way nobody would be forced to see the giant sculptures. That way everybody would be happy. I wished we’d had a law like this before this big thing was started. Maybe it’s not too late to put an elevator under this whole shrine of democracy-press a button and the whole monument disappears. And once a week-say, every Sunday for nine to eleven- you press the button and those four heads come up again with the music going full blast. The guys who got an astronaut on the moon should be able to do this much for us Indians, artists and nature lovers.
In one thing you’re wrong, though. You said we could relax now, the worst was over; they had done everything they could to the Black Hills. There was no room left for more. So now I have to tell you about a white fellow artist of yours- a sculptor. I have the name written down somewhere, back in my hip pocket. We Indians are so uneducated we can’t even remember a simple name. We should be able to do it, because our won names are so complicated-Red Cloud, Lame Deer, Gall- after this it should be easy to catch on to a simple, civilized white man’s name. But I can’t memorize it, I have to look it up. Here it is: Mr. Korzak Ziolkowski, pupil of Gutzon Borglum, who built Mount Rushmore. It seems Ziolkowski and Borglum had a falling-out at one time. Ziolkowski felt bad at having to work at such a measly thing as Mount Rushmore.
He went off and sarted working on Thunderhead mountain, which is about twice as big as Mount Rushmore. Now Ziolkowski says that he is a friend of the Indians. He says he wants to do something for us. If a white man says this, it’s time for us Indians to run. What Ziolkowski wants to do for us is put up a giant statue of Crazy Horse which will make those four Presidents look like dwarfs.
This statue of the chief sitting on his pony is supposed to be about 650 feet long and 560 feet high. It will have a forty-foot feather sticking out from its head. Ziolkowski has made a huge model of his monument. Crazy Horse doesn’t have braids and the feather coming out of his hair looks like a air valve sticking out of a tire. The chief’s arm is point ahead like “this way to the men’s room.” It is said that all the people on our reservation could stand on that arm, or maybe just on his hand. That statue is supposed to be wired for sound. Maybe its jaws will open and war whoops will come out that you will be able to hear all the way to Sioux Falls. The heap of rubble all this will make could be ten times as big as the rock dump at the foot of Mount Rushmore. The advertising says, “An entire mountain is being carved in the likeness of Chief Crazy Horse by a sculptor-genius Korczak Ziolkowski.” That man thinks big.
This genius, I am told makes more than 100,000 green frog skins (dollars) a year tax-free from tourist admissions and by selling plaster models of his statues from three dollars up- tax-free, because he is doing all this for us poor Indians. Somewhere in, or under, that statue is supposed to be fifty-million-dollar university for Indians, maybe in the big toe or a hoof, I’m not quite sure where, but I’m fairly sure that we Indians never got any money out of this.
There are two things wrong with this statue. Crazy Horse never let a white man take his picture. He didn’t want white people to look at him. He died fighting before he would let white soldiers shut him up in a stone guardhouse. He was buried the way he wanted it, with nobody knowing his grave. The whole idea of making a beautiful wild mountain into a statue of him is a pollution of the landscape. It is against the spirit of Crazy Horse.
Mr. Fool Crow, one of our most respected medicine men, says, “This mountain doesn’t want the statue to be built. The ghost of Crazy Horse doesn’t want it. It will never be finished.”
Godfrey Chips, our youngest medicine man, told me, “This man Crazy Horse, in the beginning he was a peaceful man but when he sees that all his people are massacred down the line, well, he had been given a power, so he starts to fight with it. He used to be gentle, but life made him into a man-killer. The hate was in him. He never like the white people and he died that way. So his spirit told me he doesn’t want them to build a tourist monument of Crazy Horse.”
Another Yuwipi man said, “Thunderhead Mountain, that’s an old name. It could mean some thunderbirds were up there once. They won’ like this. Our dead people don’t want it being built. The trees and the animals don’t want it. All of us medicine men know this.”
The second thing wrong with this statue is that the time has passed when a white man could simply decide for us to build a monument on our behalf according to what he had in mind, in our sacred hills, without asking us. When he started it over thirty years ago, he could still find Indians who were flattered that a white sculptor-genius wanted to do a statue of an Indian chief. But these days are over.
Ziolowski sometimes say that the Indians are superstitious and that the main trouble is our lack of vision to understand him. The trouble is that we understand him too well. It’s he who doesn’t understand. He might have good intentions, but he doesn’t see all that gigantic carving of our sacred mountains is just another form of racism.
But don’t worry. The genius-sculptor is getting long in the tooth, while his statue isn’t making much progress. Also he is very busy collecting admission fees from tourists, taking them on guided tours, selling them plastic models of all sizes, letting them look through a pay telescope, letting them ouch off dynamite blasts, and what not. Maybe it’s the spirit of Crazy Horse which is sending him all these interruptions. My father was a betting man. In a fight between Korczack Ziolkowski and the spirit of Crazy Horse, he wouldn’t have put his money on Ziolkowski. I’m telling you, the statue of Crazy Horse will remain faceless.
Why am I wasting my time taking about white man’s giant statues? Because they are a form of discrimination. It’s discrimination which brought us all up here on top of Teddy Roosevelt’s head. And that’s what I want to talk about. Some of our young Indians have bumper stickers on their cars- “Custer Died for Your Sins!”- but I’m telling you, Custer is alive! Not one but many Custers are at work in their trade, which is beating down on the Indians. Custer’s spirit is in all those tourist traps which desecrate these mountains. It’s in the Mother Goose Story Book Island, in the All-Aboard, Narrow Gauge, Scenic 1880 Train, in the Flintstone’s Bed-Rock Village, the Doll-House Museum, the Horseless Carriage Museum, the Unforgettable Fun for the Family Gravity House, the Pan Your Own Gold Dust Place, all the phony pageants, the whole crap. There’s a little Custer in all those sightseers, souvenir hunters, rock hounds, tourist scalpers, sharps and Deadwood hookers which cover these hills like so many ants.
- Pine Ridge is the POOREST reservation in this country AND one of the top three POOREST COMMUNITIES in this country.
- It is not “handouts” when the government pays (what little they pay, mind you) for health-care etc. to the reservations. IT’S A TINY FRACTION OF WHAT YOU OWE FOR THE VAST AMOUNTS OF LAND YOU HAVE TAKEN OVER.
- Yes, many people are “forced” to stay there. And those who have left struggle off the reservation too.
- No. No one outside of corrupt tribal government officials has “more than most Americans” on Pine Ridge. Or any reservation for that matter.