Don't Pave Road Through Pe' Sla (Lakota Land)

  • by: Susan V
  • recipient: Pennington Co, South Dakota DOT, Federal Highway Administration

Over the past weeks, people around the globe have joined the Great Sioux Nation in a miraculous effort to buy back at public auction their sacred Pe’ Sla. Under private ownership for over a century, Pe’ Sla is just one small part of Lakota land in SD's Black Hills that was taken illegally by the government in 1877. The effort has become a spiritual experience for those giving and receiving.

Spokesman Chase Iron Eyes says, with gratitude, that the tribes accept responsibility to preserve Pe’ Sla for future generations.

But already dividing Pe’Sla is a dirt road that the state and county want paved, and USA Today says it will likely happen, no matter who owns the land.

Even though the issue of ownership has been complicated by the auction's last minute cancellation, Last Real says Pe' Sla is still for sale, and all efforts to buy it back will continue.

Many are urging the US to return all of the Black Hills to the Lakota. And now we also demand that plans to pave the road through Pe' Sla end immediately.

The information that has come to be understood by so many in the last few weeks confirms that Pe‘Sla, along with millions of acres more of the Black Hills of South Dakota legally belongs to the Lakota people. It is sacred land, and no one but they have any right to develop any part of that land.

 Therefore it is very disturbing to read USA Today’s report that “Even if the tribes succeed in buying the land, that likely won't affect Pennington County's intention to pave and improve the existing road that passes through Reynolds Prairie.”

County Highway Superintendent Hiene Junge told the paper that Pennington Co. received about $9 million in federal funds in 2005 “to improve an 11.5-mile stretch of gravel road through Pe' Sla.” Three years later the Federal Highway Administration ordered an environmental impact study after deciding that paving the road was of “national significance” and would be “beneficial for timber and recreation purposes.” Junge added that a consultant was hired in 2010, and work on the project has continued since, “including consultations with different tribal entities.”

The Great Sioux Nation has made it clear that they do not want this land developed, and that is why they have come together to buy it back.

Though the auction has been cancelled for now, Last Real Indians’ spokesman, Chase Iron Eyes says the land is still for sale and they intend to try to buy it. He says the tribes hear the voices of support from around the globe, adding that they accept the responsibility to preserve Pe’ Sla for future generations.

We request that Pennington County, South Dakota and the US Government also respect the overwhelming voice from around the world that says this land belongs to the Lakota, and you must not develop it for timber, recreation purposes, or for any other reason.

Thank you for your consideration of this important request.

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