The Lakota Creation Story explains how Skan (that which moves everything, the sky, the Great Spirit) came from the waters on earth after Inyan (soft, shapeless, and had all power), created Ina Maka (Earth Mother) and Inyan became the rock after draining himself of his blood. The story tells how Inyan’s blue blood became the waters, but his power couldn’t stay in the waters, so all of his power rose to become the sky. Skan, the blue dome above the earth, became this all powerful judge, who made himself second in order after the Sun with Earth and Inyan after himself. Perhaps Skan is merely a metaphor for the sky and good leadership, or perhaps Skan is power beyond human comprehension. Societies around the globe developed similar beliefs of creation and reverence for earth without having communicated. Currently, those still held beliefs of earth’s sacredness are not being respected by the fossil fuel industry, and its overbearing actions fueled by environmental racism come with a price — a price we can not pay.
Humans, whose right to existence was one with responsibilities to everything else in creation, were the last to be created in the Lakota Creation story. To be specific, those responsibilities were to animals, insects, and the waters. More specific, humans were given a responsibility to sacred geographical locations, like the Medicine Bluffs.
This unique landmark at the eastern end of the Wichita Mountains was noted, described, and explored by all early expeditions and was held in deep reverence by the Indian tribes of this area from time immemorial . The four contiguous bluffs form a picturesque crescent a mile in length on the south side of Medicine Bluff Creek, a tributary of Cache Creek and Red River; it is evidently the result of a ancient cataclysm in which half of a rock dome was raised along a crack or fault.
When Fort Sill was established in 1869, the Indians named it “The soldier house at Medicine Bluffs.” The site is rich in legends and history.
You are facing the north side of Bluff No. 3, which consists of a sheer cliff 310 feet high, rising abruptly from the creek. A rock cairn erected by medicine men on its summit was still standing when Fort Sill was founded. Here the sick were brought to be healed or disposed of by the Great Spirit, young braves fasted in lonely vigils seeking visions of the supernatural, and warriors presented their shields to the rising sun for power.
Legends say that this was also a famous place for Indian suicides. The huge fissure between No. 2 and 3 was known as the “Medicine Man’s Walk.”
While the Medicine Bluffs is harder to access since Oklahoma refused to add new federal requirements in driver’s licenses; consequentially, after past attempts by the army to turn the bluffs into a shooting range, this moral responsibility to the land is currently highlighted by a much more familiar example.
Imagine, he said, if the pipeline was being built in Bethlehem, underneath Jerusalem or a similar holy site. “That’s how this is viewed by the people there,” Pevar said. “White people, unfortunately, don’t share those views. They don’t realize the religious significance of these locations.”
I am sorry Mother Earth, that the ones defending your water are going to be forced out of the way so the White Man can rape you again, who “don’t realize the religious significance of these locations.” They wouldn’t build their Black Snake under Jerusalem, Bethlehem, or under the Tomb of Christ; since, many white people seem to be pretty dismissive about the religious aspect and their hearts — the price we can not pay – are stone cold.
Kola (friends). I am Frank Fools Crow, Chief of the Lakota and I am here today with Frank Kills Enemy, one of the most respected headmen and also an expert on Indian treaty rights. Before we begin, I would like to ask you why when we speak you do not listen, and when you listen, you do not hear, and when you hear us, you do not choose to understand what we say. This is one time that I ask you to listen carefully and understand what we have to say.
The people unanimously reaffirmed our long-standing position that the Black Hills are not for sale under any circumstances. We are therefore standing behind the resolution we passed at Ft. Yates in February of this year. That resolution, my friends, reads:
The Black Hills are sacred to the Lakota people. Both the sacred pipe and the Black Hills go hand and hand in our religion. The Black Hills is our church, the place where we worship. The Black Hills is our burial grounds. The Bones of our grandfathers lie buried in those hills. How can you expect us to sell our church and our cemeteries for a few token whiteman dollars. We will never sell.