Paha Sapa, Sacred Mountain

Written by on July 3, 2020 in Conversations on the Healing Journey with 0 Comments

Paha Sapa, Sioux name for sacred mountain before it was renamed Mt Rushmore
“Paha Sapa” is the name of a sacred mountain in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It means Six Grandfathers, earth, sky and the four directions in Sioux.


Tonight, my heart is breaking as I think of the desecration of the Black Hills, of the sacred mountain, Paha Sapa; of tonight’s invasion of people and fireworks and Trump, disregarding the concerns and objections of seven Sioux tribal governments.

What else is new?

This is no salute to or celebration of America. It’s an opportunistic grab to take advantage of the timing of July 4th to save a floundering campaign, and to gather with others to affirm to each other that their entitlement isn’t selfish but patriotic freedom.

Coronavirus? So what?

Wildfire? Meh. Worth the risk.

Water contamination, debris on land? Hey, we don’t need to deal with it. We don’t live here. Trump flies out the next day and everyone who came in waving their little flags goes home.

Just last week 60 acres were destroyed by wildfire only six miles away from the white dudes memorial — you know, the renamed Mt Rushmore.

Call it by its true name

The true name of the mountain is “Paha Sapa” or the Six Grandfathers in Sioux, for earth, sky and the four directions.

That is its name. That is what I will call it.

The Sioux was “given” jurisdiction over the Black Hills region in treaties in 1851 and 1868. (Wouldn’t you love to be “given” jurisdiction” over your home?)

The federal government changed its mind and took over part of the area when gold was discovered. Of course.

“Here, you can have it when we deem it worthless”… And they had — “not fit for civilization”.

And then, “What? There’s gold??? Never mind. It’s ours. We want it back.”

And they took it. And like that wasn’t enough, they then desecrated Paha Sapa by carving the faces of four presidents, four white men, into this sacred mountain.

We need to call that by its true name as well. Gaslighting for one. Thievery is another. Bullying fits, and injustice sums it up.

Treaties didn’t mean shit then, and as we can see, they don’t mean anything now. Respect? Nope. Native Americans who live there must yet again suffer the arrogance and entitlement of the privileged.

Stepping up

There is NO being great *again*. You can’t claim greatness when so much of what we have has been gained at the expense of so many others.

Liberty and justice for all is meaningless until it is truly for all. And it isn’t.

Doesn’t mean it can’t be.

Our reality is calling us to step up to what we can be. To me, being proud as an American means acknowledging that we have opportunities to do just that. It means believing that we, as Americans, have the ability and character to get closer to the ideals we hold — now and with each passing generation.

I believe that. And because of what I see in our youth and in the Black Lives Matter movement, I believe that more than ever.

Happy Birthday America, and deepest respect to those who have lived under the shadow and weight of the privilege and entitled for so long.

We can do better. We must. And we will.

~ demian

About the Author

About the Author: Demian Yumei, author, singer/songwriter and artist activist, using spoken, written word and original songs in her human rights activism. Demian is a traveler on the healing journey with a lifelong love affair with the creative process. .


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