Given that the feds continue in their fine tradition of breaking treaties, and gleefully insisting on tearing up the earth and poisoning the water on Indian land (and poisoned water doesn’t sit still, it moves on, spreading the poison), making every effort to kill our last stand, while openly stating they don’t want to risk the water the supply in Bismarck, maybe we can get another small victory regarding names.
After a years long fight, a peak known as Hinhan Kaga to the Oglala Lakota, but known to the rest of the world, as Harney Peak, has been renamed Black Elk Peak. Gen. Harney was never near this peak, the closest he came was Blue Water Creek in Nebraska, where he was busy massacring Lakota women and children. It takes this long to remove such disrespect from the heart of Indian Country, and a great many people are still very unhappy about it.
AP’s James Nord reports South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard, in a prepared statement, expressed disappointment and said the decision would lead to “unnecessary expense and confusion. I suspect very few people know the history of either Harney or Black Elk.” The Governor added that he had heard little support for renaming the peak.
All the peoples of He Sapa know the history of Black Elk, and there’s been a lot of support for renaming the peak, but it’s hardly unusual to be “unaware” of that when you don’t look, and you don’t listen.
Now it’s time to ready for another fight, possibly this one will take years, too.
The Ft. Laramie treaties of both 1851 and 1868 created the Great Sioux Reservation, both of which included these future national forests as within the Sioux territory. These lands were later confiscated unilaterally.
Now, two national forests are sitting in a small portion of the home territories of Northern Plains Indians, including the Sioux and Cheyenne peoples. One of these forests is called Black Hills National Forest. The other one is named after yet another genocidal murderer, Custer. No one ever stops to think about all the Indian children who grow up on the rez, their home, and see the honour given to someone who was dedicated to murdering Indians, including women and children. We’d like the forests to be renamed after a true leader, a person of intelligence, dignity, bravery, and compassion, Tatanka Iyotanka, Sitting Bull.
This is about respect, and it is not a small matter. It may seem that way, but it is in no way small. This is our home, our land. It should bear a name that is proper, and respectful. It certainly should not be this:
Yes indeed. It is called Custer National Forest! And if this doesn’t strike you as a cruel irony, then I suggest that you don’t the know the history of this place, and these people.
This spiritual ‘poke in the eye’ should, and can be changed. How about ‘Sitting Bull National Forest’ instead, honoring the most respected of Sioux chiefs in his time.
If you’d like to help, please sign our petition. It’s About Respect. Sitting Bull National Forest. If you can, please boost the signal, in any way possible, we can use every voice. Pilamayaye to all those who help.