This weekend Village Earth and the Brave Heart tiyospaye agreed to work together to restore the Brave Heart’s 720 acres of land located between Pine Ridge and Oglala. They will also receive a “seed” herd of buffalo from Village Earth’s “Adopt-A-Buffalo” program scheduled to be released in August of 2005.
Picture: Basil and Carla Brave Heart point-out the benchmark (below) that marks the northwest corner of their land to Henry Red Cloud (right).
The 720 acres include the orginal 160 acres that was allotted to Basil’s Father during the 1887 General Allottement Act (Dawes Act) . After being issued a “Forced Fee Patent” the land was reposessed by the bank and sold to an Austrian homesteader who used it for cattle grazing. In the 1980’s the land opened up for sale at which time the Braveheart Tiyospaye worked together to purchase it, bringing it back into their Tiyospaye and the Oglala Lakota Nation. However, without having access to the resources needed to utilize it, they have had to lease it out to a non-tribal rancher for $3.oo an acre per year. The Brave Hearts would like to restore the health of their land and raise buffalo for sale, ceremonial use, and above all for “healing.”
Eventually, the Bravehearts would like the land to return to tribal trust status, ensuring that it will be part of the Oglala Lakota Nation forever. Recovering Indian lands that were lost because of “forced fee patenting” is a high priority of Village Earth and so we are extremely excited about this partnership.