“Plagued by an unemployment rate above 80 percent, arid land, few prospects for industry, abysmal health statistics and life-expectancy rates rivaling those of Haiti, it’s no wonder outsiders ask: Why do the nine tribes constituting the Great Sioux Nation, including those on Pine Ridge, staunchly refuse to accept $1.3 billion from the federal government?”
Why the Sioux Are Refusing $1.3 Billion
(PHOTO: A young Lakota Sioux girl at the 26th annual Powwow on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. BY: Mike Fritz/PBS NewsHour)
Perhaps not necessary in this discussion, but nonetheless connected and interesting, is the controversy surrounding the Crazy Horse Memorial, a gigantic statue that is being carved into the Black Hills.
Russell Means has some harsh words about that project:
Indian people are relics; we do not exist in the present. That makes it easy for non-Indians to say, “Oh, lo, the poor Indian, and we love his romantic image, and we are sorry for what our ancestors did to him, but we can continue to do it to these Indian people today with impunity.” That’s why we responsible Indian people abhor carving up one of our sacred mountains in our holy land.
Imagine going to the holy land in Israel, whether you’re a Christian or a Jew or a Muslim, and start carving up the mountain of Zion. It’s an insult to our entire being. It’s bad enough getting four white faces carved in up there [on Mount Rushmore], the shrine of hypocrisy.