Contra Costra Times: Give western South Dakota back

Are they firing up this old mantra again?

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 where he opines that it's time to give the western half of South Dakota back to the Sioux Nation:

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.


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.


The conflict continues 130 years later.


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.

Read all of it here.

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.


Anonymous said…
If I took your house and your land, PP, you'd be pissed too. Yes, maybe even 100 years later.
n_ _ sac said…
800 yrs ago the Cossacks raided and stole the land from my family in eastern Europe. I wounder if I could inlist Mr Blackhawk's help in getting my land back ??
Anonymous said…
Great nations, like great men, should keep their word. The US government blatantly broke its word when it nullified the treaties. I don't know what to do about it now, and giving back the western half of the state (or even the Black Hills) is obviously impractical, but some form of redress is required, something far and above the horrible BIA.
Anonymous said…
Gee, what will all the West Coast and East Coast liberals who are invading the Black Hills and building their yuppie McMansions do when the land is given back?
Anonymous said…
They can have the land if they take Betty Olsen along with it!
Anonymous said…
This issue is talked about on the reservations all the time. It may be brought up in the general media now and then but every election cycle this is one question that Native Americans ask a candidate. I feel safe to say the issue is talked about many times during visits from national elected officials.
At this point i would say it will not happen. What and how to do something about it is another question.
It seems that most South Dakotans on a daily basis forget we are a nation within a nation.
Anonymous said…
pktiMaybe i should say a state within a state.
I am sure you know what i mean.
nonnie said…
There were various Indian tribes living in South Dakota over the past countless years. One tribe won a war and took it from another, etc etc etc, until the Sioux took it from whatever tribe had it before them. Sorry, but the past is the past. If we owe the land to the Sioux, they owe it to whichever tribe they took it from.

The only thing to do is go on from here. Life is what it is at the present. Suck it up and attempt to improve it. A good work ethic is a good place to start. If that is available, economic development will follow. Without that, any attempts at economic development will be doomed.
Anonymous said…
I think we should give the land - or at least a big part of it - to DM&E.
Anonymous said…
Sorry but the past is the past?

Suck it up?

I'm almost speechless.
So what you are saying is that if someone (in this case the United States Government) reaches a legal agreement with someone else (in this case the various Sioux tribes) and then decides that they don’t like the agreement, they should be able to break it without any consequences, and the victims of the injustice should just live with it?

So…if I decide that I don’t want to pay my mortgage, and burn down the bank, I should just be able to say that “The past is the past…Suck it up”. I entered into a legal contract I am by law, and by
God, compelled to live up to my end of the bargain. We should expect noting less of the government. We signed treaties, we blatantly violated them. These people deserve REAL compensation.

Now, there is no chance in hell we can/will/should give them back west river SD, or the Black Hills, but we do owe them something.
Anonymous said…
That would be the Arikara Nonnie. I've never agreed with Nonnie in all his numerous posts but I have to say I half agree with him on this one. If you give the land back to the Sioux do they in turn have to give it back to the Arikara?

Throughout history nations of people have been taken over by states. We unfortunately didn't learn from other states/nations that the best way to go about it is to integrate the cultures rather than putting people on reservations. The Romans are a perfect example of thousands of cultural nations living under one state/rule.

It's obviously to late to go back now but to say "suck it up" doesn't help matters either.
Anonymous said…
PP: Once again, your ignorance is an illustration of precisely why Native Americans are 90%+ Democratic voters.

In case you and Elli were wondering.
Anonymous said…
We, the United States of America, have paid the Natives back for the land OVER AND OVER AND OVER again!

It has not been good for the tribes! In fact it has been very very bad. The amount of waste that goes to the Native populations is disgraceful.

There would be economic development among the Native people if they would go to WORK but they DON"T. Ask anyone who has tried to get something going in those areas.

As long as the tax payer Sugar Daddy provides for everyone---granted not as much as some would like -- and as long as the next generation grows up angry, drunk, and fighting they will stay stuck. Giving “back” more land will not help the culture.

Cut the anger and take responsibility, Millions of dollars have poured into the area for 100 years it does not make things better. STOP the government money! They must go to work everyday—not just when they feel like it! Take pride in a job well done.

We have paid up on our responsibility for breaking a treaty LONG, LONG, LONG ago!
nonnie said…
anon 3:15. I was going to post just about exactly what you said. Well said.

There have been different economic developments tried on the reservations, and because the Native Americans (many, not all) don't show up enough to maintain a steady workforce, these attempts fail. If you don't believe me, contact the Small Business Administration.

Government handouts to the Native Americans might have had good intentions, but they have destroyed these once proud peoples. Simply giving handouts solves nothing, destroys self-esteem and a sense of responsibility for self, and perpetuates the welfare mentality. It isn't fair to the Native Americans; they are better than this.

I will apologize for my "suck it up" statement. But not for saying that the past is past. It's time that Native Americans take responsibility for themselves. If there is no work on the reservation, then move to where there is a job. That's what other people have to do. Also stress education as the way out because it is.
Anonymous said…
Way to suck it up, man.
Anonymous said…
Give the whole state back. In five years the Indians will have the whole state sold back to the white man.

Anyone ever see the new homes built a few years back at Lower Brule? They were all torn down ruined within a couple of years. Anyone who thinks the Native Americans in South Dakota are prepared to run anything, let alone an area the size of west river, needs a reality check.
Boiled Owl said…
Can you spell "Palestians?"
Anonymous said…
This is a great topic PP. I will take a break from destroying my home and mismanaging my finances and will try to offer insight here, if my laziness doesn't get in the way first.

Stay tuned,

Bruce Whalen
Anonymous said…
Anon 6:28 p
You do know that some of the homes that have been built in Indian County in SD that are now torn down or boarded up is due to the fact that they are full of Black Mold and are unable to be lived.
I do believe that it is terrible to lump sum people in any group.
Ponder that one. Do you know where those who had to move went? Ponder the thought.
Anonymous said…
Way to go Bruce!

PS: you know me...
PP said…
Actually, I would be interested to hear what Bruce has to say on it as a conservative Republican.

And I can't blame him for his sarcasm. It is getting a bit stereotypical in here.
Anonymous said…
To Boiled Owl...could I respectfully request that you refrain from including the pix with your posts...every time I try to read comments my computer keeps stopping me and asks about displaying secure and non-secure items, and it is a pain. :-) (I'm not being snide. It really happens.) Thanks.
Metis said…
In 139 years, the breaking of the treaty of 1868 has never been forgotten as the subject of discussion among the tribes. The people have turned down the paltry money offered for the stolen land. They want the land. It has to do with a way of life and a meaning that the honkey mind could not grasp then and cannot grasp now. This post and thread are testimony to the ignorance and malice from which the people want to be freed.
Anonymous said…
owl- Do you mean "Palestinians?"
Anonymous said…
Metis: I see that you are lump summing people. Not a good thing to do!
Previous poster

Popular posts from this blog

Why should we be surprised?

That didn't take long