Sunday, March 2, 2014

Management of public land in Black Hills must be restored to tribes

The Black Hills are broken.

Wasicu have stolen the ground, plundered the resources, encouraged ponderosa pine to infest lands once dominated by aspen and sage, pollute waterways and deplete watersheds. Nine tribes have sued to force the courts to act on Forest Service and BLM mismanagement.

Senator Mark Begich, Democrat of Alaska writing at The Hill:
The president has finally submitted to Congress a plan to pay in full the nation’s service contracts with Indian tribes. This story goes back decades. In 1970 President Nixon first called on the government to get out of the business of controlling and suppressing Indian tribes, and instead to transfer all federal programs to willing tribal governments. President Nixon called it the Indian Self-Determination Policy, and the point was to restore tribal governments to their rightful place in the family of American governments. Finally after 20 years of excruciatingly slow and costly lawsuits, the tribes finally won. In 2005 and again in 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the tribes and said America’s full faith and credit stands behind every government contract—even contracts with Indian tribes. But the administration still needs to square up with tribes over past underpayments. The last thing tribes need is more justice delayed from a government that already certified to Congress exactly how much it still owes. [Begich, Pay back Native Americans]
This AP report is posted at KDLT's website:
A United Nations fact finder surveying conditions of Native Americans and Alaska Natives says he will recommend in his report that some of their lands are returned. 
James Anaya has been meeting with tribal leaders, the administration and Senate members over 12 days to assess U.S. compliance with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He plans several suggestions in his report, likely due out this fall.

Anaya says land restoration would help bring about reconciliation. He named the Black Hills of South Dakota as an example. The hills are public land but are considered sacred land by Native Americans.
President Barack Obama endorsed the declaration in 2010, reversing a previous U.S. vote against it. It is intended to protect the rights of 370 million native peoples worldwide.
From PBS:
Plagued by an unemployment rate above 80 percent, arid land, few prospects for industry, abysmal health statistics and life-expectancy rates rivaling those of Haiti, it’s no wonder outsiders ask: Why do the nine tribes constituting the Great Sioux Nation, including those on Pine Ridge, staunchly refuse to accept $1.3 billion from the federal government? Edward Charging Elk, a member of the Rosebud Tribe, has put together one such proposal for a bill that he says is “realistic and doable” that focuses on three elements: the return of 1.3 million acres of the Black Hills, relabeling the trust money as back rent and then agreeing on the terms of future rent for the resources from the land to the tune of roughly $7 million a year.
President Obama: it's time to wrest control of these sacred mountains from earth haters and put the original owners back in charge.

Seventeen tribal nations have met with Turkish officials to discuss trade ties.

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