Contra Costra Times: Give western South Dakota back
Columnist Ned Blackhawk, associate professor of history and American Indian Studies at the University of Wisconsin (*note, an out of stater) has a column that's posted over at contracostatimes.com where he opines that it's time to give the western half of South Dakota back to the Sioux Nation:
Read all of it here.
TODAY IS A sad day in American-Indian -- and American -- history.
On that day 130 years ago, the federal government broke its own laws and eventually used military force to seize illegally the once vast reservation homelands of Lakota communities known as the Black Hills.and...
Weary of war, in 1868 U.S. and Lakota leaders returned to negotiations. The result: a congressionally ratified reservation covering the western half of South Dakota. This "Great Sioux Reservation," with recognized hunting lands in Montana, now became the Lakota's indisputable homeland to be held in trust by the federal government.
But the 1874 discovery of gold in the Black Hills ruptured this agreement. It brought illegal occupations of the Sioux Reservation that remain contested to this day. As historian Jeffrey Ostler writes, "Forced to choose between expansion and honor, (President) Grant, not unlike many of his predecessors, sacrificed the latter," opening the reservation to waves of intruders.and...
The conflict continues 130 years later.and...
The Lakota have religious and legally recognized ties to these federal lands, and the U.S. government must act now to rectify its violations. National leaders need to recognize and reverse the failures of the past.
When Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley proposed giving the black hills to the Sioux in 1988, it made great fodder for the Republican delegation. And as the 1980's drew to a close, so did this type of assertion from left coast liberals.
I look at this, and much less than a legitimate attempt to solve the economic problems of the South Dakota tribes, it seems to be more or an attempt to stir up old prejudices.
If Ned Blackhawk wants to do something substantive, why doesn't he spend time advocating economic development on the reservation, as opposed to inciting ill feelings.