This track is from Australian band Midnight Oil‘s sixth album, Diesel and Dust. The single became their international breakthrough 25 years ago, and though it’s about returning Australian land to the Aboriginal people, it’s actually relevant to present day America.
One week from today, on August 25, about 2,000 acres of land in the Black Hills of South Dakota are slated to go up for public auction. This land, known to The Great Sioux Nation as Pe’ Sla, was stolen from them by The U.S. Government when gold was discovered there in 1874 in direct violation of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. In 1980 The United States Supreme Court ruled that reparations be paid to The Great Sioux Nation for the illegal seizure of the land. However, The Great Sioux Nation refused the settlement in the belief that doing so would be tantamount to selling the land to the U.S. Government. Pe’ Sla is one of the most sacred places to The Great Sioux Nation; it is their Mecca, their Jerusalem. The auctioning of this land to the highest bidder could potentially lead to its destruction, as the State of South Dakota has made their intention of redevelopment known. The only way to prevent this from happening is for The Great Sioux Nation to buy the land back, and they’ve set up an IndieGogo page to raise the money to do just that.
A couple of days ago, I wrote that I felt like my world was coming to an end. For The Great Sioux Nation, that is literally what is happening, a large part of their world and culture could be coming to an end. It it with respect and hope that I dedicate this song to them. If you can help, please consider donating to their cause and spreading the word to others. If you happen to know someone with $10 million burning a hole in their pocket, that would be awesome.