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Mixed Feelings About Negotiations Over Pe' Sla

September 2, 2012, 9:57 PM by Derek Olson

Mixed Feelings About Negotiations Over Pe' Sla
PINE RIDGE, SD -

Tribal officials from around the region are in negotiations with the people selling Pe' Sla. Their hope is to regain ownership of the sacred land. But not everyone agrees with how the land is being sold.

When the planned auction of the sacred tract of Black Hills known as Pe' Sla was cancelled late last week, many wondered why.

"You know, I don't know what their intent was when it was cancelled.  But I hope that it is left open and there's no back-door deal," Lydia Bear Killer of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation said.

News that multiple American Indian Tribes have entered into negotiations with the land's sellers was met with mixed reactions in the village of Pine Ridge.

"I do endorse the people who got up and started moving on requesting donations and the tribes that put in money for it, I really commend them," Bear Killer said.

"Pe' Sla is sacred ground to us and I don't think, personally, as a traditional Lakota woman, that they should have money involved in it," Darlene Helper of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation said.

The broken Ft. Laramie Treaties of 1851 and 1868 explicitly gave tribes control over the Black Hills.  In 1980, the US Supreme Court ruled that the land's seizure was illegal.

"You know, I believe in my treaty rights.  I really stand for my treaty rights because of the nation that belonged to us for many, many, many years," 92-year-old Lakota elder Marie Brush Breaker-Randall said.

"To me, it still belongs to us.  So why should someone buy it, you know?" Helper said.

"Even though it was illegally taken, we're having to buy it back by the millions," Bear Killer said.

But some do realize there's a common goal in mind.

"That sacredness of the land should be left the way it is for ceremonies for the people of Lakota Oyate," Brush Breaker-Randall said.

KELOLAND News reached out to officials with the Oglala Sioux Tribe as well as members of the Reynolds family, which is selling the land.  All parties have declined any comment on the negotiations.

The estimated value of the Pe' Sla land, which is around 2,000 acres, is between $6 million and $10 million.

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