NDN Collective says Camp Mni Luzahan works hand in hand with their LandBack campaign
“I do think that it is part of it because for me and my understanding of Landback is that almost every single social issue that impacts Native communities, alcoholism, the health disparities, obesity, in my mind, all of that stuff has roots in when we were removed from our land.” said Two Bulls.
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Camp Mni Luzahan is supported by NDN Collective and in a media tour on January 5, one volunteer said the camp is part of NDN’s Landback initiative, an initiative that has adopted the hashtag of the same name.
It’s not just culture. Or even land, despite the hashtag.
“You can’t joke around and say ‘Black Hills Doksa’ anymore because we got a little piece of it back,” said Mark Tilsen, a volunteer with Camp Mni Luzahan. “This is part of the Landback movement and the very fact that one of the things that we’re doing with our land is to take care of our most vulnerable population kind of shows you the priorities and trajectory with that movement.”
The Landback campaign launched on Native American and Indigenous People’s day in 2020 and although Camp Mni Luzahan falls under NDN Collective’s racial equity campaign, it goes hand in hand with the Landback call to action.
”I do think that it is part of it because for me and my understanding of Landback is that almost every single social issue that impacts Native communities, alcoholism, the health disparities, obesity, in my mind, all of that stuff has roots in when we were removed from our land. And so, when we were forcefully removed from the lands, all of that was taken from us,” said Krystal Two Bulls, NDN Collective’s director for the LandBack campaign. “And then a foreign way of being and helping ourselves was introduced to us and that is why we see all of these things that we see today so yes, in looking at it from that framework, Camp Mni Luzahan very much is a reclamation of all of the things stole from us including the land.”
Two Bulls said Landback has two branches, one to support movements calling for the return of indigenous lands across the world and one for right here in South Dakota.
“We are saying shut down Mount Rushmore and return all public lands in the Black Hills back to the original stewards and so that’s a little bit more of our traditional campaign,” said Two Bulls. ”When folks hear the term land back, there’s a lot of fear attached to it, especially White folks in the area and we’re not coming after people’s homes.”
Since the campaign’s launch in October, not much has been done in the Black Hills but plans are in the making.
“We don’t, I mean don’t have anything specifically to give you as of right now, but I can say that we do have a lot of things planned in the future,” said Two Bulls. “We’re still building out our team and so I think in February we’re going to have a much clearer idea of some of the big next steps that we might have locally.”
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