Pe’ Sla Purchase: Not Out of the Woods Yet
Though the Rosebud Sioux Tribe (RST) has recently announced progress in their efforts to purchase the sacred site of Pe’ Sla in the Black Hills of South Dakota and RST President Rodney M. Bordeaux has stated to the public, “We have secured funding for the earnest money deposit of Pe’Sla,” the purchase is not final.
According to Debra White Plume, a resident of Pine Ridge, information stating Pe’ Sla has been saved is not entirely correct.
“Somehow the word is being put out there that we won and that Pe’ Sla has been saved. That message is wrong,” said White Plume.
According to her, the initial process in that the Oglala Sioux Tribe asked a federal agency to intervene and the Black Hills were taken off public auction, was correct, however, after working with Last Real Indians (LRI) the tribes only made a down payment.
In previous releases, stated amounts collected to help with the purchase of the sacred site included $1.3 million put up by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and LastRealIndians.com, headed by attorney Chase Iron Eyes, which has raised more than $326,000. The funds were combined for the earnest offer made to the Reynolds family.
The down payment, according to White Plume, has not yet sealed the deal.
“The remainder of the purchase price still has to be paid to the Reynolds family, which is in about 21 days or so,” said White Plume. “So LRI is still raising funds to pitch in with the tribes. Until that final amount of money is paid in full, the land has not been returned to the Lakota people.
Though White Plume says she is aware of some facts, she does not know details because tribal council meetings have been private due to their sensitive nature.
“Everyone is speculating on what will happen,” she said.
Iron Eyes also said the Rosebud Sioux Tribe has been strategically tight-lipped about the process and that he knew as much as White Plume. “That’s where I am at too. Rosebud is the tribe holding all of the information now, so I am not sure. Except that they have made an earnest money deposit.”
“We don’t know if there is an agreed amount. I know that at this point they have been dealing with the auctioneer only. I don’t know that the owners have even been part of this process.”
Iron Eyes said that though the negotiations were private, he was optimistic to see the coming together of the tribes.
Though White Plume says the tribe is looking into the possibility of financing in order to purchase Pe’ Sla, details of the arrangement are not being released.
A rally was held September 5 in Rapid City that drew nearly 250 supports, according to the Rapid City Journal. Supporters marched from the Memorial Park Band Shell to Omaha Street carrying posters reading "The Black Hills Are Not For Sale," where they lined up before heading back to the band shell. The poster was designed by Shepard Fairey, the same artist who created President Barack Obama's 2008 "Hope" poster for his presidential campaign.
The Rapid City Journal reported that several speakers at the event called on everyone to come together on this issue. "We are one people with one mind and mother, and that's the Earth, and we have to protect it," said Tom Poor Bear, vice president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
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