Buffy Sainte-Marie (second from left) and David Amram (far right) will again seek to push the U.S. government to honor its treaties when they perform at the Black Hills Unity Concert this weekend. This famous photo from 1978 captures notables from The Longest Walk: Muhammad Ali, Sainte-Marie, Floyd 'Red Crow' Westerman, Harold Smith, Stevie Wonder, Marlon Brando, Max Gail, Dick Gregory, Richie Havens, Amram.

Spirit of '78: Buffy Sainte-Marie, Arlo Guthrie Headline Black Hills Unity Concert


On September 13-14, the Black Hills Unity Concert will take place at the Elk Creek Resort in Piedmont, South Dakota. The Unity Concert is part of the effort to return the Black Hills to the Pte Oyate (Buffalo Nation, also called the Great Sioux Nation). The boldface names performing and speaking include Arlo Guthrie, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul and Mary). Performers Indigenous to Turtle Island include award-winning hip hop artist and dancer, Supaman (Crow); legendary 14-year-old environmental activist and hip hop star Xiuhtezcatl Martinez (Aztec); inspirational Diné musician and poet Lyla June (Navajo), Joanne Shenandoah with her daughter, Leah, (Oneida); Kanentiio, (Akwesasne Mohawk); Shawn Little Thunder; Cody Blackbird; Aloysius Weasel Bear; Nahko Bear; Porcupine Singers; Scatter Their Own; Ta'Kaiya Blaney, and Tracy Bone. Also joining will be pianist and activist David Amram, Tibetan musician Tesering Lodoe, Uran Snyder of the World Peace Prayer Society, Australian electronica artist Deya Dova, and veteran jazz/new age musician Paul Winter.

For Sainte-Marie and Amram, the concert is yet another reunion of activists for the Native cause. The two were part of the famous group of celebrities on board for The Longest Walk in 1978.  

The concert will be streamed live via the website UpliftConnect.com; organizers are is still accepting funding through an online crowdsourcing campaign at ioby.com.

For more information, visit TheBlackHillsAreNotForSale.org. Here are two inspiring videos by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and Lyla June and, further down, a more general video about the cause.

"The Unity Concert is about a 'once in a lifetime' (certainly in my lifetime) opportunity to return the guardianship of the Black Hills of South Dakota which are, spiritually, 'all that there is' to the Great Sioux Nation, and thereby reversing the constant and flagrant violation of the treaty we signed in 1868," Yarrow writes on his Facebook page. "The return of the Black Hills would also be a monumental breakthrough for our country and a sign that we are still able to address crucial moral imperatives; seldom do we make amends for, or seek to right, our sometimes horrific mistakes and injury we have done to our own people and to other nations."

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Rachel Marco-Havens
Rachel Marco-Havens
Submitted by Rachel Marco-Havens on
I will never forget the Longest Walk. I was 9 years old, and the impact it left on me was very powerful. Thankful for the medicine this gathering will bring. I do so wish that I could be fully present at this event––Thankful for the streaming.

andre's picture
Submitted by andre on
Canada and the U.S. are products of colonization. Like most oppressors, they find it impossible to do what is right. Andre Leonard,