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Sioux tribes take to the Internet to buy back sacred land

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Members of the Sioux Nation are attempting to raise $1 million dollars to buy back a section of South Dakota land known in their culture as “the Center and heart of everything that is.”

About 2,000 acres of land in the state’s Black Hills is scheduled to go up for auction next week, including what’s known to the Sioux as Pe’ Sla. A local auction company posted that 1,942 acres of the land, known as Reynolds Prairie, after the family who owns it, is slated to go up for bid on Aug. 25.

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The Rosebud Sioux Tribe has teamed up with the Native American blog Last Real Indians for an online fundraising campaign that began Monday, with an Aug. 23 deadline. As of Friday afternoon, the campaign had accrued just over $59,000.

“It’s not like a resistance movement or a militant thing,” Last Real Indians’ Chase Iron Eyes told Raw Story. “We have to protect these things. That’s what we’re on this Earth for.”

The land is central to the Sioux way of life, Iron Eyes said. Not only is it the site where, elders say, the Morning Star slew a creature that had killed seven women and took their spirits to create the Seven Sisters constellation, but it’s still used for religious ceremonies to this day. However, he added, the tribe bears no ill will toward the current owners.

“I only wish that he would do what’s morally right and work out a deal to sell this property to its rightful owners,” said Iron Eyes, who filmed a YouTube video explaining the tribes’ case for buying back the land. “We shouldn’t have to buy back something that’s already ours. But, we’re adaptable.”

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The tribes’ primary concern is the threat of development along an 11-mile stretch of a gravel road connecting the towns of Rochford and Deerfield in Pennington County. Earlier this year, the various tribes – Sioux, Cheyenne and others – in the area were invited to consult on the project, said Waste’Win Young historic preservation officer of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North and South Dakota, whose tribe has gone on record opposing any development in the Black Hills.

At a June meeting proposing an environmental survey of the area in the fall, Young said, four options were presented: an expansion of the existing gravel road; a road that would go around Pe ‘Sla; a road going east of it, and the option to not build at all.

According to Terry Keller, environmental manager for the state of South Dakota’s office of project development, the road is a county project that, if it moves forward, would come under the auspices of the Federal Highway Administration. But first, tribes will continue to be consulted on the potential impact to their culture. Keller also said that the option not to build on the land will be on the table at all times. At a community meeting in Bedrock City earlier this year, he said, resident opinion was split.

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“There’s a thought among the opposition that if you put a good solid pavement and encourage people to use that route in the hills that eventually further development, that would adversely affect the ambiance associated with Pe ‘Sla,” Keller said.

Meanwhile, Keller said, proponents of new development in the area cite concerns with accessing it during the winter because of weather issues, and with the heavy dust the road’s gravel kicks up during the summer months.

With just over a week to go until the auction, Young said she had a feeling of “impending doom” about the issue, because of the threat to an area that has meant something to her community and family for generations.

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“It’s the very heart of everything that our people went through and have gone through,” Young said. “But I’m optimistic because our people have survived so much.”

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Elementary school cheer squad parents raffling off an AM-15 automatic weapon as a fundraiser

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Just weeks after a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio killed nine people, only 200 miles away in Richmond, the cheer squad is selling raffle tickets to sell a semi-automatic gun.

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Gov. Jay Inslee withdraws from presidential election

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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow that he was officially leaving the presidential race Thursday.

He said that he got into the race with the intention of trying to raise the important issue of climate change and demand the issue be part of the conversation in the debates.

The Democratic Party has refused to have a debate that focuses exclusively on climate change, despite the numerous plans, ideas and approaches from the 20-plus candidates running for president.

He said that he isn't currently endorsing other candidates for 2020, but he hopes that his "atlas" for a climate plan will be adopted by other candidates.

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Scorching WaPo editorial tells Trump to own his bad economy and stop blaming the fed

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Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell

In a scathing piece from the Washington Post editorial board, the team at one of the nation's top papers told President Donald Trump to stop trying to pretend it's the Federal Reserve's fault for a slumping economy.

Trump has tried to claim that the economy isn't just fine, but outstanding and excelling expectations. Yet, in the same breath, Trump claims that that the Federal Reserve is responsible for all of the problems he says don't exist. It's enough for The Post editorial board to note the economic message is "remarkably dissonant."

Trump decided to that the Fed must lower interest rates and engage in “quantitative easing” to lower bonds. It's part of a tactic the Fed uses during tough times, which Trump says don't exist. Even during the worst financial crisis in a generation, in 2008, "quantitative easing" was controversial. Then there is the matter of a payroll tax cut, something Trump said he was looking at before saying he wasn't looking at it. But if there's no crisis, then why is it necessary.

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