Pe’ Sla in the Black Hills is one of the most significant cultural/spiritual sites of the Sioux Nation. Recently, its greedy owners put it up for sale, but the Sioux Nation was able to redeem it by buying it outright.
Pavel Sulandziga, chairman of the working group for Development of the North, Siberia, and the Far East in the RF Public Chamber, announced that in mid-January 2013, for the first time, a meeting of the chiefs of Native American tribes of Canada and the USA with worldwide indigenous leaders would take place in Russia. In the light of all the noise raised by the international and Russian mass media in relation to the notorious end of the world bruited for 21 December, Sulandziga’s assessment of the upcoming international conference to take place in Bolivia, entitled The Beginning of the Era of Harmony and Becoming One with Nature, appears quite à propos.
In the last few years, Bolivia has become one of the main actors in the movement to defend Mother Earth, which in spirit is very close to what indigenous people worldwide believe in… becoming one with nature, being part of the environment. The meetings in Bolivia that President Evo Morales initiated are of great importance because, in the long run, the economics of our globalised world plays a dominant role. However, it shouldn’t be that way. Besides economics, there’s much else related to the life and activity of people. Of course, economics isn’t the only criterion; people value other values as well.
Pavel Vasliyevich, you were invited to the conference in Bolivia, but you accepted another invitation and chose to attend a different event. Please, tell us about that.
Yes, we’re talking about the annual meeting of the Sioux tribe chiefs, which is one of the largest Native American tribes in the USA. Our association of indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia, and the Far East have sought contact with them for a long time in order to work together. Now, for the first time ever, they’ve invited an outsider to their Chief’s Council, which takes place on 21-22 December.
Will you speak at that Council?
Yes, I plan to speak on two themes. Firstly, I plan to touch upon establishing cooperation and joint action between us. I’m currently the chairman of the working group on the international cooperation between the indigenous peoples of Russia and other countries in the RF Public Chamber. Our group works with a number of areas related with the development of indigenous peoples. This includes education, youth culture, self-government, cultural development, and other matters. That’s why I’d like to raise these issues in a joint discussion. Secondly, I’ll talk about the Evenk people, for the Sioux Chiefs’ Council voiced its support for them. This, by the way, was one of the reasons for my invitation. The problem is that Evenk lands attracted the attention of high-ranking officials and legal structures, which decided to grab them…
I’m currently working on the visit to Russia of a number of Native American chiefs from the USA and Canada, as well as the leaders of indigenous people from other countries. Willie Littlechild, the Honorary Chief of the Crees from Alberta in Canada, Aali Kirskitaua, vice president of the Sámi parliament, and Henry Harrison, chief of the Thabas tribe from Alaska, have already confirmed their participation. They’ll come to Russia in mid-January, for a meeting of indigenous peoples for a joint discussion of problems and cooperation. We’re planning a press conference in Moscow, and, then, we’ll go to Lake Baikal.
12 December 2010
Voice of Russia World Service
Addendum on Pe’ Sla:
Born from her core, I know she beats for all that is.
This is where we’re from,
Where we pray,
Where our stories were told back in the day.
My soles stained red as I walk the road around her,
Pointing to the stars and all that surrounds,
This land beats with the power of ten thousand drums.
In my heart of hearts I know this is love I’ve found.
So hear me now —-
You will not destroy her.
No roads will pass,
Nor foundations laid,
Not as long as we’re here…
We will not be swayed.
Pe’ Sla is the heartland of the Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation). This land is a part of our creation story; we believe that this land is the centre, the heart, of everything that is.
Aho Mitakuye Oyasin….All my relations. I honour you in this circle of life with me today. I am grateful for this opportunity to acknowledge you in this prayer….
To the Creator, for the ultimate gift of life, I thank you.
To the mineral nation that has built and maintained my bones and all foundations of life experience, I thank you.
To the plant nation that sustains my organs and body and gives me healing herbs for sickness, I thank you.
To the animal nation that feeds me from your own flesh and offers your loyal companionship in this walk of life, I thank you.
To the human nation that shares my path as a soul upon the sacred wheel of Earthly life, I thank you.
To the Spirit nation that guides me invisibly through the ups and downs of life and for carrying the torch of light through the Ages, I thank you.
To the Four Winds of Change and Growth, I thank you.
You are all my relations, my relatives, without whom I would not live. We are in the circle of life together, co-existing, co-dependent, co-creating our destiny. One, not more important than the other. One nation evolving from the other and yet each dependent upon the one above and the one below. All of us a part of the Great Mystery.
Thank you for this Life.