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imperialism & war | indigenous issues

Mato Sapa Encampment

On June 27, the Owe Aku, the Paha Sapa Sioux Nation
Treaty Council declared their intention to defend the
Mato Sapa Butte. They have sent up their encampment and
are preparing for the Summit of Nations, which will run
to July 31/August 1.
Here are the words of Debra White Plume about this
historic event.
Greetings Mitakuyepi: (my relations)

Today the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council, Owe Aku, and the Intertribal Coalition to Defend Bear Butte moves to Mato Paha, our Sacred Mountain. We begin preparations for the July 4 Opening Ceremonies of the Gathering of Nations to
Defend Bear Butte. With sending our voice to the Universe at sunrise, we make our move. We look upon participation in the making of a design of a pivotal moment in our history as Indigenous People and our struggles to protect our ways of life and our Sacred Places. While all of Mother Earth is Sacred, while all of the He Sapa (Black Hills) is Sacred, Bear Butte is the mountain under the most direct threat so we gather there to send our voice to our Creator and our Ancestors and ask them to stand with us, to ask our Sacred Mountain to stand with us, in this effort to protect our destiny as Lakota people and the many other Tribal Nations who hold Bear Butte as Sacred. We go in a humble way, we go as the humble two-legged, to stand with our Relatives of Creation. Why do the developers and their supporters around Bear Butte expect us to willingly give up our destiny? Why do they think they are greater than the destiny of the Lakota Nation? Our identity is interwoven in our Creation Stories with our Sacred Places, this includes our Mato Paha. In many ways, this is our final defense. For if they wipe out our Sacred Places, they wipe out the Lakota Nation. Without our connection and relationship to Mother Earth and our Sacred Places, we cannot be Lakota anymore. We go to a peaceful camp, to gather our relatives from the four directions to make important decisions, together, collectively, about our future and our future generations. We go in a respectful way to our Sacred Mountain to protect Her and to protect our Human Right to pray there, learn there, receive healing there. This pivotal moment in history is a time for Indigenous People and our Allies to come together, to take courage, to stand together to protect our Sacred Places and our destiny. --Debra White Plume

Debra White Plume
Owe Aku, Bring Back the Way
Manderson, SD 57756-0325
605-455-2155 Voice Ph
605-455-1287 Fax Ph
money, money, money....... 05.Jul.2006 18:24

forest dweller

This is a "call" to all Indian people. For two centuries our people have struggled to preserve and defend our sacred mountain Bear Butte. It seems like every year some Indian group or Tribe is protesting, or going to court, or appealing to the Governor to protect Bear Butte from some new destruction and desecration. Each year sees Indians attempting to use every available avenue to prevent the further destruction of Bear Butte and its surrounding lands. Today our sacred mountain are threatened as never before, immense venues of drunken revelry are being carved into the land around her slopes and the worlds biggest "Biker Rally" will bring almost a million loud, polluting motorcycles and their thrill seeking riders, to the sacred mountain. They seem eager to dirty and disrespect our sacred lands in search of an escape from an empty American life.

At first they came into our sacred grounds as trappers killing animals for their pelts, we fought them then and drove them away. Then more invaders were sent under Custer to dig for gold and take the land from our forefathers. Soon they were too many to resist and the Chiefs had to make treaties with them in order to protect the people's lives and our lands. Always they have been told; "The Black Hills are sacred and Bear Butte is sacred also" and it was included in the treaties as land that would belong to the People forever, never to be sold. Our ancestors clearly explained to the Americans that our sacred lands must remain within the care of the people and the Americans agreed, their Congress ratified it and their President signed it. It is only because the Americans have broken their own Treaty that today we must continue the struggle our forefathers began.

Recently the announcement of a 600-acre "Biker Bar Campgrounds" and a giant, man-made amphitheater and concert venue alarmed Indian tribes all across the Great Plains. Even more insulting was the promoters plan to name it "Sacred Ground" and construct a giant statue of an Indian facing Bear Butte! Indian people began once more to rally to protect the mountain from this development. Several Tribes passed resolutions and once more groups and individual people began attending meetings and trying to pursuade the County and State governments to prohibit this development. That part of the struggle goes on and we are still attending meeting and filing our arguments against the development and granting it a liquor licensee. We fully intend to continue to use these bureaucratic remedies in hope that we can establish some legal zoning and stop any development that way.

At the same time it has become more and more obvious that the immense amount of money Meade County and the State of South Dakota make off the "Sturgis Bike Rally" means that once again our pleas will fall on deaf ears. As we began exploring ways to stop the "Sacred Grounds" developer we found out that he is far from alone in his intentions to develop biker bars and concert venues on grounds surrounding Bear Butte. We now know of at least a half a dozen major campgrounds and concert venues being planned and at least one under construction. These, in addition to some smaller ones already in existence that are getting ready to expand and a giant one called "Buffalo Chip" that is approximately four miles away, mean that soon our sacred mountain will be surrounded by noise and drunken partying. Mega speaker systems, giant TV screens, fireworks and 800,000 roaring motorcycles will drive animals, Indians and Spirits away from the mountain. They will destroy the land and dirty the water. Already her lake is drying and the water from her spring barely flows.

We are traditional Indian people. When a crisis like this one threatens the people we turn to our sacred ways to give us guidance. Since the announcement of the latest development many prayers have been offered and many ceremonies done on behalf of our efforts to defend Bear Butte. Like so many of our ancestors we ask that our words and actions be blessed before we decide how to go forward and we pray that our decisions will be the right ones. As we continue in our efforts to defend Bear Butte we intend to follow this way of doing things so in the end we can do things in a good and respectful way.

In past days when matters of great importance were to be considered a Call went out to the people to gather together to make decisions that would affect all the people. Bear Butte, Nowa'wus, Mato Paha, our Sacred Mountain is that important to the people and the decisions made to defend her will affect all the people. A traditional Call is now being sent out for all traditional societies to bring together their people at Bear Butte during the summer. We invite our own traditional Chiefs, Headsmen and Headswomen to come to lead and guide the people and we will prepare a place for you. We invite our sacred men and women to come pray for our efforts and us in a ceremonial way and we will prepare a place for you. We invite our Elders to come stand with us and bless us with your knowledge we have a place for you in our circle. We ask all who Sundance and follow the sacred Pipe to come lend your prayers and power to our struggle. We ask our youth our future to come stand beside us, we ask you to come early to lend your energy and strength to the sacred circle of your people. In the end our Call must be heard by all traditional Indian people and we must gather together in unity, in prayer and with determination to make this one grand effort to defend Bear Butte.

Our gathering will be called the "Great Intertribal Gathering of the Nations" and it will be coordinated by the Intertribal Coalition To Defend Bear Butte. In early July an encampment will be established at Bear Butte and soon after the "Sacred Staff" will be placed in its own Tipi and ceremonies will begin and will go on until the "bike rally" is ended. The date of the Council meetings and other activities is yet to be decided and all important decisions will be made as the circle grows and the time nears. Finally we ask you to remember that ours is a society that values the drum, songs and dance of our people so bring your drums, we'll dance and make our gathering a joyous wacipi as we take care of serious business for our people.

Owe Aku, a traditional group working on the Oglala Lakota reservation at Pine Ridge, SD has been given the task of preparing the "Sacred Staff" and taking it to the Tribes. Owe Aku means "bring back the way" in Lakota and in this beginning they will act as our contact point and fiscal agent for fund raising. As a 501c3 organization, Owe Aku is able to receive tax exempt donations and to be accountable for using it for the encampment and Council.

A larger meeting of all concerned is planned for early spring, at that time a more formal organization can be formed to be more inclusive and to make the decisions necessary for the Gathering.

If you or your society wishes to join with us in defending Bear Butte this summer feel free to contact us.

I am Carter Camp of the Ponca Nation


Owe Aku: Bring Back the Way

"We Do Not Inherit Mother Earth From Our Ancestors, We Borrow