Tribe secures money in effort to buy South Dakota land

2012-09-04T14:15:00Z 2012-09-04T16:21:52Z Tribe secures money in effort to buy South Dakota landThe Associated Press The Associated Press
September 04, 2012 2:15 pm  • 

SIOUX FALLS | A Native American tribe trying to buy land it considers sacred in South Dakota's picturesque Black Hills is in negotiations with the landowners and has secured money for a deposit, though no final agreement has been reached, tribe officials said Tuesday.

The nearly 2,000 acres of pristine prairie grass plays a key role in the creation story of the tribes making up the Great Sioux Nation, and members fear that new owners would develop the property. The land, which the tribes call Pe' Sla, is the only sacred site on private land outside Sioux control.

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe, whose reservation is among the closest to the land, has allocated an undisclosed amount of money as an earnest deposit on the land, though tribe spokesman Alfred Walking Bull said Tuesday that he couldn't specify the amount or where negotiations stood with the land owners.

"Basically, Rosebud is working out the details and the details will be forthcoming as early as next week," he said.

The tribe had earlier said it was allocating $1.3 million to the cause, and donations to an online fundraising effort totaled about $300,000 by Tuesday, though tribal officials fear that the land could sell for between $6 million and $10 million.

The landowners, Leonard and Margaret Reynolds, declined comment Tuesday. An auction to sell that land had been scheduled for Aug. 25, but the couple cancelled it a few days before without commenting. Walking Bull said both sides have been working through a third party to handle negotiations.

Despite the hushed negotiations, tribe supporters praised the news of the progress.

"We are very pleased we've reached this positive milestone," said Chase Iron Eyes, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe who led the online fundraising effort. He said supporters will hold a celebration rally Wednesday in Rapid City.

The tribes believe the Sioux people were created from the Black Hills. According to part of their spiritual tradition, Pe' Sla is where the Morning Star fell to Earth, killing seven beings that killed seven women. The Morning Star placed the souls of the women into the night sky as "The Seven Sisters," also known as the Pleiades constellation.

Tribal members hold ceremonies and rituals on the land.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(11) Comments

  1. Native Thoughts
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    Native Thoughts - September 05, 2012 4:01 pm
    Well said Kola. Buying back land that is rightfully ours is whats happening. But in all the Land/Black Hills belongs to Unci Maka and Tunksila. So to say land actually belongs to us goes against everything we and our ancestors believed in. But if I had to make a choice I'd rather see the land in the hands of my people.
  2. Rag Tag
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    Rag Tag - September 05, 2012 1:57 pm
    Reverse Discriminatinon? Not hardly. In fact, it's laughable. Could it possibly be that the Reynolds family TRULY understands the plight of the Native people? Could it be possible they admire/respect Native people and their customs? In your minds, No. Does it really matter? I think not. Point is folks this is a monumental feat demonstrated by the Native people, so boo and hiss all you want.
  3. sodaknative
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    sodaknative - September 05, 2012 1:26 pm
    I can always count on the RC Journal's comment section for some racist rants.
  4. sweetness101
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    sweetness101 - September 05, 2012 12:56 pm
    i will say it! Reverse discrimination.
  5. traditional1
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    traditional1 - September 05, 2012 12:31 pm
    First, DoTell, someone and many did notice the auction signs were posted as far back as June, 2012. Second, this was not a last second effort as much as you might think has been on this just as the Rosebud Reservation has been on this for quite sometime. What you don't realize is there is little or no monies on most of the reservations to just stand up and write a check for ''a cause''. Dakota 65; Taking any part of the ''pay off'' by the U.S. government as settlement of the Ft. Laramie Treaty is not an option as it may be misconstrued as acceptance of the terms of the treaty as perceived by the U. S. government and all Lakota, Dakota and Nakota know the Black Hills ( He Sapa) are not for sale and never have been. pookie; do your homework and realize the U.S. government is obliged to provide certain services and goods as part of the Treaties that were signed. In addition, of late, the Federal Government has lost many law suits related to abuse and mismanagement of funds rightly allotted to the ''Great Sioux Nation'' and some of the monies used in this transaction are coming from those funds. Here's the point, its ironic that the Great Sioux Nation has to scramble to buy back land that is rightfully theirs according to the Ft. Laramie Treaty of 1868 which this government chooses to not only ignore but breach. It's a fact that ALL politicians choose to ignore, including the present administration.
  6. lzross
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    lzross - September 05, 2012 11:03 am
    Well pookie, there has been a lot of support on those internets. You see, there are a whole lot of folks that know that the tribes were done wrong after the Fort Laramie deal and they showed there support by donating funds. Yes siree, these are the same folks that pay taxes too! What a deal, another win win. The billion bucks that you all speak of is what? When you see what the land costs have risen to, that is pretty insignificant in the whole scheme of things. There are properties that sell for big money, just the lots to build on, are not cheap. Check out the signage down there by that big tall white building and you can see for yourself. This is a great deal and a show of working together by the tribes, something that we could also do about important matters as well.
  7. pookie
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    pookie - September 05, 2012 7:06 am
    I don't understand. If the government subsidizes everything the Native American tribes do, then how can they raise so much money so fast to buy a piece of land? Doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. I think it is way past the time to stop giving millions to the tribes and let them start fending for themselves like the rest of us have to do.
  8. maddog61
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    maddog61 - September 05, 2012 7:03 am
    Can anyone say "Reverse discrimination"?
  9. Dakota605
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    Dakota605 - September 05, 2012 4:19 am
    I don't always agree with you, but here, I do.

    One question I don't think any of the tribes have answered: there is nearly a billion dollars sitting aside with the Great Sioux Tribe's name all over it. Granted, the Great Sioux has been split up into other tribes since 1868.

    Why not take a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of that billion dollars to buy Pe' Sla? If they take money given to them by the federal government to buy the land, are they then still buying the land? When you get down to the lowest common denominator, it appears in that case the land would be given back to them, by the government. I've been hearing that argument for years and years and years "the government needs to give the land back." There's the money, from the government, to buy the land, and make it yours. The tribe isn't paying for anything. The tribe gains land, and money, and that is where you find a win-win in the eyes of the Natives, in my eyes.
  10. lzross
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    lzross - September 04, 2012 7:32 pm
    Do Tell, it takes time to get things going on any type of purchase that involves more than one person or in this case, tribe. So, in the end, who cares when it was noticed or not noticed, the tribes are taking action to make the purchase and for that, we all should applaud them in their efforts. This will be a win win for all!
  11. DoTell
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    DoTell - September 04, 2012 6:05 pm
    When we were up in that area in early June we saw the land auction signs. I found it kind of odd that the articles relating to this property made is sound like the land came up for sale only a week or so before Aug 25th. All I know is the property was posted way before the action date, so why the hurry now? If the land was used for prayer all year round I would have thought SOMEONE, ANYONE would have noticed the land was going to action. Why was this not noticed by the tribes until now?
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