tv History of the Black Hills CSPAN April 18, 2021 3:42pm-4:01pm EDT
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>> the black hills of south dakota are very sacred areas as a whole. >> in the black hills i believe at one time or another there is a piece of the rest of the world somewhere. >> we are in the epicenter of, sometimes testy relations between a native and non-native inhabitants. >> stretching about 110 miles long and 70 miles wide, the black hills of south dakota rise up from the planes adjust to the west of rapid city. >> the black hills are very important to the native american committee. it is referred to as the heart. >> it is because of the rich greenness, the kind trees and elevations we have that surround
all of that. >> picking up where rapid city is at, we are positioned at the gateway to the black hills. it is how we have always built ourselves all the way back to the earliest founders of rapid city. >> i am donovan, my name -- families of the many cozy lakota for my travel association which is about 100 miles east from where i am now. and, the sacred bear butte a spiritual place where not only lakota but people of many american indian tribes and
national sees visit. about the time. of around 1800 up to the 1870's is a time here deb went lakota and cheyenne dominated the whole area. they moved constantly in search of the buffalo and game, the supplier for food and shelter and everything that people know was provided by the create tour. a very significant spiritual area. again, if you look at the bigger picture and see bear butte surrounded by -- the black hills is about 80 miles long and it is totally surrounded by a prairie itself. it rises up out of the prairie,
their unique area. beautiful. very sacred. >> taking you back a few years to the treaty that was signed in 1868, what we know as western south dakota today hasn't the black hills was treaty land for native americans. just a few years later in 1874, the custer expedition cuts through the black hills on official orders of seeking a passageway for immigrants into the montana area. in it their way through the black hills, they discovered gold. that is the game changer. we signed the treaty in 1868 and now we discover gold. that led to the gold rush in the black hills and, it is the turning point in the event rate
from their the spaces go through a bunch of different treaties, the organizations, land allotment acts and things of that nature. had the gold not been discovered it might be a different story. we can only conjecture. that is what happened. >> the black hills being lost through the politics, and the gold discovery in the black hills by the custer expedition. all of that was a craving for our land which eventually led to the reservations, pine ridge, rosebud, standing rock, cheyenne river. basically a concentration camp, you could not leave in the early days you had to have permission. >> there is about 12% native
american population in rapid city which is significant, 82 9000 native american residents here. we are within 90 miles of the pine ridge indian reservation which by all accounts is one of the poorest places to live in the nation, where the life expectancy is very low in the infant mortality rate is high, the eviction rate is very high, and the unemployment is high also. it is a challenged part of the country. >> the county i come from on the reservation, cheyenne river, is the poorest county in america. it is last alphabetically, it has the lowest per capita income and if you look at all of the other five reservations of the lakota and western south dakota, they will be at the bottom 20 in
the u.s.. >> conflict is a good way to describe the relationship between the early non-native settlers and the current native american inhabitants of the area. there was conflict then and there is conflict today. it is not as much direct conflict as it is influenced by historical trauma. there was development here that was not in the best interest of the native people, certainly not in the same style with the same intended use of the land as the original native people. we are 20 miles from mount rushmore, the largest president monument in the world. >> -- in the heart of south dakota's back hills. there it is, the 60 foot head of george washington. 300 units will follow, jefferson, lincoln, roosevelt will be honored.
>> there was controversy from the start. carving in the black hills. that controversy came from tribal people as well as people that today, we would call people who are ecologists rated the tribes were looking at a place where they would come in and honor and have honor ceremonies, spend some time. that -- at that time. , 1925, that was not looked at the same way we look at that today. >> most of our people, especially more traditional, are not in favor of anything with the rocks. rocks are our -- are believed to be part of our system and living. not to blast those and carve
them and make them, those were things that were decided by non-indians. what we did was we studied the history of mount rushmore and the four presidents there. my part was to explain some of the american indian policies saying -- that washington had or lincoln had, or roosevelt had, and jefferson. >> today we still have tribal people who are concerned about the black hills being carved. we try to honor that, some of it through our interpretive programming. we also have a place we set up in the park that is called the lakota heritage village. every summer, we hire cultural interpreters. these are people who are lakota, they come in and talk about the lakota story.
we are trying to share the importance of the black hills for all of these people, as well as what these culture means. it is a balance. [speaking foreign language] >> grandfather thank you very much. crazy horse's first name -- >> that is like mount rushmore, same thing with the rocks. disturbed and -- so, as a family member myself i would not support that as far as from the crazy horse and home families. >> what you tell some people, some neighbor megan's spoken with where the issues they had with this memorial is that it is taking the native geology of the
land and the rock and changing it from something the creator -- or was there before. >> the creator created human beauty -- beings to do things. dad wanted to carve the mountain in montana. not in the black hills. it was the indian people that said you have to build it in the black hills. so, he was invited here by the native american people to carve the mountain in the black hills. the part of the story we are telling, we are telling the history of the native american people, we are telling the future of native american people , and present day. we have lots of artists and performers that come here and share their knowledge and experiences and lives with our guests. if you have knowledge you have everything you need. >> as crazy horse guinness young
warrior -- >> we have other ways we can honor our people. we have our own accurate histories that differ from some of the histories they present. >> crazy horse was all through this area, we are about five miles from the sacred bear butte and we are also about two miles from the fort that there will was established before. we are in and area of minicamps of our people, lakota, including all through this valley where we are right now. here is also ironic we are the remnants of costner's cavalry ended up, this was their area.
1876 was little bighorn but, by 1890 was the wounded knee massacre so, that was their job and -- patrol area to clear down there. we are probably 140 miles from wounded knee. the black hills have always been a big issue. you u.s. court of claims was formed in the 1940's to take claims to lands and that is when the lakota filed for loss of the black hills. there is a whole history of that unsettled case which continues to this day because the tribes did not accept money, they wanted land and all that continues to this day. >> ns it's it is still in effect
today, it has not been -- there has been a different changes to where are the spaces that native american content members are set aside for, there is legal activities pending in terms of who owns the black hills right now. i know there are native american committee members who do not want to take a settlement for the black hills because they don't believe the black hills are for sale, they are sacred. >> south dakota has had a history of a lot of problems with the relationship with tribes. they can say what they want but, the record shows that it has been a tough go. >> there is a long way to go. there are hurt feelings passed from generation to generation and there is discrimination,
partly real partly perceived but, discrimination on the less. >> if you don't understand a culture completely you can understand how beautiful and wonder if that's wonderful be black hills are and i think i can respect and understand all of that from that viewpoint. >> the legacy of the black hills continues to this day. it will always be a sacred and spiritual place and an important place where ceremonies, a lot of people that come here and visit are drawn back later by what they remember and from expanding the black hills. i think one of the power points of the world, it is nine the think.
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