Back to Red Buffalo Rising

This is Just the Tip of the Iceburg for Reparations/Amends....

The Black Hills: ‘It’s not settled – until we say it’s settled’

Posted by: admin in Black Hills, Native history, Native sites
Add Comment

By Ernestine Chasing Hawk, Native Sun News Managing Editor

RAPID CITY — When Attorney Mario Gonzalez was asked why S.D. Congressional leaders have said the “Black Hills Claim” issue is moot because it has already been settled he replied, “It’s not settled – until we say it’s settled.”

In 2008, during a campaign stop in Sioux Falls then Sen. Barak Obama gave Great Plains Indian tribes a ray of hope on the outcome of the century’s long legal battle over “theft of 48 million acres of their homeland.”

“Barack Obama is a strong believer in tribal sovereignty. He does not believe courts or the federal government should force Sioux tribes to take settlement money for the Black Hills. Obama would not be opposed to bringing together all the different parties through government-to-government negotiations to explore innovative solutions to this long-standing issue.”

However one of the key elements to resolving the issue is “bringing together all the different parties” and with each passing day their “window of opportunity” shrinks as time ticks away for the Obama-Biden administration.

A. Gay Kingman-Wapato, executive director of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association explained that shortly after Obama was elected, a meeting was held on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation where several chairmen brought forth tribal resolutions that dealt with how litigation on dockets 74-A and 74-B should proceed.
Because tribes need to come to a consensus and present a unified voice before the Obama administration, the GPTCA formed the Great Sioux Nation He Sapa Reparation Alliance whose role will be to “facilitate” the creation of a “Plan of Action – Position Paper” to hold the United States Government accountable for its violations of the 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty.

It was decided that the alliance must proceed in a spiritual way and have their first meeting where the Sacred Bundle brought by Pte San Win (the White Buffalo Calf Woman) is kept.

“When this goes forward we felt that it needed to be with the pipe and in a spiritual way, otherwise we felt it would get derailed,” Kingman-Wapato said. “So the first meeting was at Green Grass and it was just wonderful.”

She said elders present were allowed to dream about the return of He Sapa (Black Hills) land and how they would build a Cultural Center and Museum where they would teach about who they were as Lakota people and where their priceless artifacts would be preserved for future generations.

Since then, most of the Great Plains Sioux Tribes have hosted meetings, but because it’s been more than 30 years since the Black Hills Claim was on the table, tribal members had to be re-educated, which has delayed the project.

Plans are currently underway to meet with the remaining Sioux tribes which include Spirit Lake and Fort Peck as well as Sioux tribes in Minnesota.

Kingman-Wapato said that they hope to craft legislation similar to the Martinez Bill. In 1990 H.R. 5680 was introduced to the 101st Congress by Democratic Rep. Matthew Martinez from California. The bill asks for no specific amount of money but calls for a blue ribbon panel to review the claims of the Sioux and advise Congress on fair and just compensation to resolve the Black Hills issue.

The legal battle over what has been referred to as Docket 74-A which began in 1922 is based on the argument that the Sioux never gave up any land and that the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty was treaty of peace, not a treaty of cession.

The 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty gave the Sioux 60 million acres of land west of the Missouri. Gonzalez points out that the Sioux were never militarily defeated by the U.S. and would never have signed the 1868 Treaty had they thought they were ceding any land to the U.S.

History supports the Sioux as this excerpt about Red Clouds War from the Ft. Laramie website at...

to comment