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Hear Us | Voices of Oglala Lakota Women for Badlands National Park

As a part of my project: "If She Can Do It, You Can Too: Empowering Women Through Outdoor Role Models," I have been documenting Native American women activists in the national parks in the United States for last three months. I asked questions: "How are we honoring the indigenous peoples' rights in our parks today? Are we telling the stories of Native Americans' connection to the parks, many of which are their home and land?" By doing this work, I am hoping to share their stories with the world to raise our awareness of American Indians' land rights and their way of protecting environment in our parks from women's perspective.

My most recent work profiled voices of Oglala Lakota women for the South Unit of Badlands National Park's new management plan in Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota. The South Unit of Badlands National Park has always belong to the Oglala Lakota nation. However, in 1942, the US government confiscated the land to establish the Badlands Aerial Gunnery Range for bombing practice. In 1968, Congress authorized a return of the land to the tribe but as government-held trust land under the management of Badlands National Park. Almost 70 years later today, the park has proposed a new management plan that suggests seven management options, ranging from continuing current management to transferring the land and management back to the tribal government.

Oglala Lakota women are raising their voices for the best management option(s) for well-being of their people, future and environment. From the interviews, I produced a short movie: Hear Us | Voices of Oglala Lakota Women for Badlands National Park, to educate people about the brief history of the land, their opinions and our role to be a part of this change.

This is an extremely exciting opportunity for all of us. This is a chance to support Native Americans’ rights by raising our own voices. Please watch this short movie today and think about which management option(s) most benefit Oglala Lakota people and the environment. Then, join me for sending public comments to Badlands National Park to support bringing the land management back to Oglala Lakota people in Badlands National Park. The public comment period ends on October 19th, 2010.

To watch movie, please go to this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgytjDL76uc
To make public comments, please go to this link: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentForm.cfm?documentID=35882

Together, we will be loud so that the Badlands National Park will Hear Us! Thank you everyone!

Comments

Claudia's picture

Oglala Lakota Women

Mihoaida,

Thank you for sharing this. I think it is saddening that there is little education on Native Indigenous Peoples history in the U.S. I can only speculate it is due to the race and class politics we've inherited from settler colonialism and a refusal to take accountability. I strongly believe that accountability is necessary for societies to move forward. At the same time, the work that you are doing speaks volumes to the positive aspects of solidarity work and courage, despite the barriers that the Oglala Lakota women face.

As part of my interdisciplinary training in philosophy and women and gender studies, I am always striving to learn about how lands are used when people are displaced. This statement stood out to me:

"The South Unit of Badlands National Park has always belong to the Oglala Lakota nation. However, in 1942, the US government confiscated the land to establish the Badlands Aerial Gunnery Range for bombing practice."

Best in your continued endeavors,

Claudia

P.S. I look forward to watching this video!

mihoaida's picture

Thank you!

Claudia,

Thank you so much for the comment! Please watch the video and share with your friends. Oglala lakota women and I will appreciate it.

Love,

Miho

Miho Aida

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