How We the People screwed the Indians, part two

Attorney Mario Gonzales has been litigating the "Black Hills Claim" for most of his life. He contends that the commission charged to make peace with tribes inserted language into the document signed in 1868 that Red Cloud had neither seen nor agreed to in negotiations.

Ernestine Chasing Hawk, Native Sun News Managing Editor sent this story to the Missoula-based Buffalo Post:

In 2008, during a campaign stop in Sioux Falls then Sen. Barak [sic] 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.” 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.
Anybody surprised? Ms. Chasing Hawk goes on to say:

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. Arriving at Fort Laramie via Cheyenne in November, the Commission under General W. T. Sherman was dismayed to find no Sioux to parley with as planned. Red Cloud refused to come in until the garrisons at Forts Reno, Phil Kearny and C. F. Smith were withdrawn. The Commission acceded and in March, 1868 the President ordered their abandonment.

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. In 1980 Supreme Court said the Sioux were entitled to a mere $40 million dollars (Docket 74-A) for the “ceded land’ and na-cu (using a Lakota lexicon, na is and, cu is dew) the government wanted money back for the rations and other annuities they gave the Sioux in the 1800’s. This government action attests to the origin of the cliché, “Indian givers.” In 1980, the Supreme Court also awarded the tribe $106 million dollars (Docket 74-B) on the ground the U.S. had taken the Black Hills and paid no just compensation in violation of the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment. As a result, the tribe realized almost none of the vast mineral wealth yielded by their stolen land.
One paragraph really caught my eye:
And according to Edward Lazarus during his last days in office, Democratic “Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle did a neat little favor for one of his corporate constituents. As a rider to the defense appropriation bill, he attached a provision granting absolute immunity to the Barrick Gold Company of Toronto for any liability arising from the 125-year operation of its Homestake Mine, a gold-bearing gash in the Black Hills of South Dakota.”
Jodi Rave, in her blog Buffalo's Fire, reports that Elouise Cobell spoke today at the University of Montana as she briefs tribes on the Claims Resolution Act of 2010:
Historical Accounting Claims state that the federal government violated its trust duties by not providing a proper historical accounting relating to Individual Indian Money accounts and other trust assets. Trust Administration Claims that include fund and land administration claims state that the federal government violated its trust duties, mismanaged individual Indian trust funds and violated its trust responsibilities for management of land, oil, natural gas, mineral, timber, grazing and other resources.
Tribes in South Dakota that have criticized the Cobell settlement are reexamining their stands.

Montana's Crow tribe recently voted to ratify the Crow Water Settlement Act of 2010:
The act provides a quantified water right of 650,000 acre-feet per year from natural flow and storage with a priority date of 1868. Tribal executives also brought in high-level speakers to endorse its passage, including U.S. Sen. Jon Tester; Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk, of the Department of Interior; and Michael Connor, Bureau of Reclamation commissioner.


David Newquist said...

If the Treat of 1868 were adhered to, the tribes would still be in possession of all of West River. In addition to the language inserted into the treaty proceedings that the tribes were not informed about, much of the land was taken be outright theft enforced by the military.

Another dimension of the fraud and conspiracy to defraud and commit genocide is revealed in the recent books "The Killing of Crazy Horse" and "Sitting Bull: Prisoner of War."

The proposal advanced in the 1980s to restore tribal lands to the tribes which excluded established communities is still the best option. It might be time to put the white guys on reservations and give the land back to its rightful occupiers.

larry kurtz said...

Learning about how the Crow got caught in the middle and had to side with the US making them the "odd man out" in the struggle boggles the mind.