Do or Die

An article from Do or Die Issue 5. In the paper edition, this article appears on page(s) 74.

Dances with Dollars

"The white man made us many promises, but he never kept but one. He promised to take our land and he took it"
- Red Cloud, Sioux Chief, 19th Century

In August "Waterworld", the latest film to star Kevin Costner, will open in Britain. It is the most expensive film ever made. This article is a plea for you to boycott it and take actions against its star.

If this sounds bizarre, read on...

Many of you will have seen Kevin Costner in 'Dances with Wolves', a moving (if rather sickly) story, set in the last century, about a US cavalry man, John Dunbar, who joins a band of Lakota Sioux. The film was praised by many, including the Sioux people, for its portrayal of the plight of Native Americans. Following its release Coatner spoke publicly about native peoples land rights and was adopted by a Sioux family.

Yet Costner now joins the ranks of generations of white people who have broken promises and exploited native Americans. As if acting like a plank wasn't enough.

Costner and his brother, under the name 'Dunbar Consortium', are now planning to build a holiday resort on land sacred to the Sioux.

The Costners have already started work on a site they own and plan to build a four star hotel, complete with casino and sports complex. Now they are trying to buy 630 acres of land belonging to the US Forestry Dept to add a golf course and private railway to their list of horrors. This land is unspoilt forest and part of the Black Hills national park.

The Black Hills are, to the Lakota Sioux, the sacred heart of their nation. In 1980 the US Supreme Court ruled that the land was taken from the Sioux illegally in 1877 and that the US Govemment should pay over $1 million in compensation. The Sioux have not taken the money. They would rather have the land.

As ever, the developers claim the scheme will bring in jobs and wealth to a poor area. They point to the fact that the Sioux people of South Dakota are amongst the poorest in the USA. Yet to the Sioux the land is sacred as it is: wild and undeveloped. Whilst the Sioux live on minimal State support, Costner and his brother have received over $11 million in state aid to help them build the resort. At the end of the day we all know whose bank balance will really benefit.

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