Nonprofit led by Native Americans acquires 40 acres in Black Hills



The Cheyenne River Youth Project, a Native American-led nonprofit, has purchased nearly 40 acres of land adjacent to Bear Butte State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The US government seized the Black Hills in the late 19th century and in 1980, the Supreme Court ruled that the seizure was illegal and awarded the Lakota people $105 million, which they refused to accept as they claimed the Black Hills were not for sale. This purchase is part of a growing movement to return land to indigenous people, with some tribes in the US, Canada, and Australia having their rights to ancestral lands restored.

Non-Profit Acquires Land in Black Hills for Indigenous Peoples

A Native American-led non-profit, Cheyenne River Youth Project, has purchased close to 40 acres (16.2 hectares) of land in the Black Hills of South Dakota. This purchase contributes to the growing movement of returning land to Indigenous people.

The land, adjacent to Bear Butte State Park, was announced to be acquired on April 11. It is near Mato Paha, a sacred place for the Lakota Nation, access to which was cut off in the late 19th century when the U.S. government seized the Black Hills and fragmented the Great Sioux Reservation.

Julie Garreau, who heads the project, quoted a 1980 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the U.S had illegally taken the Black Hills. She noted that the Lakota people rejected the court-awarded $105 million compensation, because the Black Hills were never up for sale.

Garreau cited the rapid loss of access to sacred places due to increasing urbanization and soaring land prices as the reasons behind the organization’s decision to buy the land.

“The distance and the cost prevent access” Garreau said, referring to the five-hour round trip and expensive summer lodging prices.

However, the statement did not disclose the amount paid for the land purchase.

In recent times, some tribes in the U.S., Canada, and Australia have had their rights to ancestral lands restored, thanks to the Land Back movement.

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