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The Black Hills Are Everything!

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The Black Hills Are Everything!

Traditional Lakota Spiritual Leader and Head Man,

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David Swallow, Speaks Out on the Sacred Black Hills


by David Swallow, Jr.

Traditional Lakota Spiritual Leader

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and a Head Man of the Lakota Nation

Edited by Stephanie M. Schwartz,

Member, Native American Journalists Association (NAJA)

Originally published at

July 5, 2009  Porcupine, South Dakota

The white man calls me David Swallow, Jr. but my real name is Wowitan Yuha Mani.  I am a Tetoh Lakota of the Wa Naweg'a Band and I live on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

This is the way my Grandpa Najutala told me, a long time ago.  He was a teenager when the 1868 Treaty was signed.  He's gone now but this is how he told me about the sacred Black Hills.

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The Black Hills used to be occupied by the Crow Tribe.  That was way back, like in the 1700's, even the 1600's.  Then, the Black Hills were taken by the Shahiyela (the Cheyenne).  Then, the Lakota took them from the Cheyenne.  Finally, the white man took them from the Lakota.

The Lakota look at the Black Hills as having spiritual power.  All the Plains Tribes look at them that way.  But the white man saw only the yellow rock called gold.  They tried to make deals to get the land in the Treaties of 1825, 1851, 1868, and even the Bradley Bill of the 1980's. 

However, the only Treaty that should be recognized concerning the Black Hills is the Treaty of 1851.  At that time, all the tribes signed this Treaty and they signed it in a holy way.  The Lakota brought the Sacred White Buffalo Calf C'anunpa, the Cheyenne brought their 7 sacred arrows, and the Crow, Arikara, and other tribes brought their sacred bundles.

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I am a 62 year old female Freelance Writer and Editor and Member of the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA). I live in Firestone, Colorado and specialize in Native American and Indigenous Issues, particularly those pertaining to Lakota (more...)

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