Target: U.S. Department of Interior
Goal: Return the Black Hills of South Dakota to the Sioux without any exchange of money
A large portion of the Black Hills, sacred land known as Pe’ Sla by the Lakota Sioux, is for sale after nearly 150 years of control by the Reynolds family. A claim to purchase the land by the Sioux has been accepted, and the tribe must raise $9 million by November, not a small feat for the poorest community in the United States.
The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 gave the Black Hills back to the Sioux, but when gold was discovered there not long after, the government appropriated the land once again after starving the people living there. Since 1876, the Reynolds Family has controlled the land. In 1979, the U.S. Court of Claims found the government’s dealings with the tribe to include some of the most dishonourable acts in the country’s history.
The Supreme Court followed this with a decision to pay the tribe a considerable sum for the Black Hills land. However, the Sioux refused any notion of selling sacred land. Now this same federal fund has gained interest and totals $800 million, but the Sioux, on principle, are no closer to accepting this, even to purchase back the land.
After 150 years of fighting in court for the return of land rightfully theirs by principle and treaty, the Sioux are determined not to miss this opportunity, and are making a strong effort to raise the sum, despite many obstacles. For a long time the Sioux of South Dakota have been among the poorest people in the United States, with 80% unemployment.
Further, many tribal members question the fairness of the sale, as the land is obviously, and rightfully theirs. Clearly, it is the responsibility of the United States, and the very least they could do in reparation for the crimes committed against the Sioux and all Native American peoples is to return the entire Black Hills to the Sioux.
Please demand that the Department of Interior support the Sioux and uphold the original treaty by compensating the Reynolds family, and returning the Black Hills to the Sioux.
Dear U.S. Department of the Interior,
The Sioux are currently trying to raise funds to purchase a large portion of the Black Hills in South Dakota, land that is sacred to them. For over one hundred years, the tribe has fought in court for land which was originally theirs and which is designated theirs in the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. But soon after the creation of this treaty, gold was discovered on this land and the government re-appropriated it.
The Reynolds family, which has controlled the Pe’ Sla portion of the Black Hills since 1876, is finally selling it and has approved the Sioux’s claim for purchase. Although the government offered to pay the tribe for the land in 1979, the Sioux would not accept the sale of sacred land.
After the crimes the U.S. Government has and continues to commit towards the Sioux and other tribes throughout the country, the only decent and responsible action is the return of the Black Hills to the Sioux without an exchange of money. Please, as the department responsible for maintaining peace with the native nations within your country, compensate the Reynolds family and return the Black Hills at no cost to the Sioux.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: ConspiracyofHappiness via Flickr