|Write A Letter to Indian Affairs Committee
Re: Illegal Land Transfer of Missouri River Treaty Lands
Ask them to Intervene or Rescind the Public Law 106-53 because the land was taken improperly.
|Ben Night horse Campbell, Chairman
Committee on Indian Affairs
United States Senate
838 Hart Office Building
Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2251 ph.
RE: REQUEST FOR INTERVENTION TO PUBLIC LAW 106-53
members of the Indian Affairs Committee,
Greetings. Once again, a major wrong is being committed against the Great Sioux Nation, and the extinction of a proud culture is jeopardized by the failure of the United States Government's oversight toward a transfer of treaty lands (53 recreational sites) and waters to the state of South Dakota.
On August 17, 1999, Public Law 106-53 (Title VI) known as the controversial "Mitigation Act" was passed with many intentions to violate existing treaties between the Great Sioux Nation (Lakota Confederacy) and the United States. The US Army Corps of Engineers, Presidents of both the Cheyenne River and Lower Brule Sioux tribal councils, the controversial governor of South Dakota William "Wild Bill" Janklow, and an ambitious US Senator
Tom Daschle introduced injustice known as the "Mitigation Act", into national history.
Our own History precludes us from supporting any activities that may jeopardize the social and human rights afforded us via Internationally binding treaties made between our ancestors and yours. The United States constitution was enacted in 1787. Article 6 of this international document declared, "…all treaties made…shall be the supreme law of the land."
In 1851 & 1868, the Ft. Laramie Treaties were established as a signal of strength for the Lakota people of the Great Sioux Nation and its allies. Article 2 of the 1868 treaty established mutually adhered to boundaries, "…commencing on the East Bank of the Missouri River…and in addition thereto, all existing reservations on the east bank of said river shall be, and the same is, set apart for the absolute and undisturbed possession of the
Indians herein named. (15 Stat. 635). Article 12, requires 3/4 of the adult male population of the Great Sioux Nation to be consulted prior to any cession or conveyance of title.
Violations of the initial law or treaty (15 stat. 635) resulted in the passage of numerous acts of Congress, including but not limited to the Flood Control Act of 1944 (Section 4. 58 Stat. 887); The Indian Reorganization Act of June 18, 1934 (25 USC 461); The Homestead Acts of 1910 (30 USC 83); The General Allotment/Dawes Act of Feb. 8 1887 (24 Stat. 388); The forced reduction of the Great Sioux Nation in 1877;The Abrogation of Indian Treaties (Mar. 3, 1871, ch. 120, Sec. 1, 16 Stat. 566). The list goes on. Included in this sordid list will be Public Law 106-53--Title VI, (herein after the "Mitigation Act") as the transfer of Great Sioux Nation land
title to the state of South Dakota…
In March 22 of 1999, members of our Lakota Student Alliance risked our livelihoods, our liberties, our home and families, in order to maintain a spiritual fire at an encampment on Laframbois Island, a plot of federal land scheduled to be transferred to South Dakota. We camped there as a statement of opposition to the land transfer, as we still do now, which was legislated without the consultation of 3/4 of the adult male population.
That same day, South Dakota Governor Janklow told Lakota elders that he "didn't sign" any treaty, so his hands were clean. PL 106-53 Title VI overshadows the potential loss of cultural dignity, which would only amount to nothing less than Cultural Genocide.
Title VI was defeated in the House of Representatives by a vote of 122-8 in early 2000. Now the Water Resources Development Act was passed soon after but with the same intent of dividing and conquering the Great Sioux Nation.
REPEAL PL 106-53!
Public Law 106-53 ("Mitigation Act") ignores future ramifications of the preservation of Indigenous cultures of the national heritage. In its passage as law, PL 106-53 ignores the concerns of tribal nations that will feel socio economic impacts resulting from the activities of this law. The Mitigation Act fails to provide adequate reason to allow for future generations of Lakota people to freely roam on its own territories.
PUBLIC LAW 106-53 SHAKES THE UNSEEN WORLD TO REALIZE THAT THEY HAD ACTUALLY FOUGHT TO DEFEND THESE SAME LANDS AGAINST ENCROACHMENT FROM TRESPASSERS AND EXPLOITATION. The ancestors, Arickara, Ree, Mandan, Lakota, Hidatsa, whose remains lay buried along the shores of the Missouri River, are watching to see if we fail them or continue the fight. Tasunke Witko, our ancestor once said, "My lands are where my dead lay buried." We feel this was his prophecy of the upcoming disputes arising from the graves along the rivers, along the hills, and in every creek and gully of the Great Sioux Reservation.
We often fail to realize that a major injustice has occurred when we hear the enemy telling us that this land transfer is a "complex" issue. This Is not the case. The foundation of this complex issue rests inside the
various articles of the historical treaties, particularly the 1851 & 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaties between the United States Government and the Great Sioux Nation. As the ongoing violation of these guaranteed treaty rights are
being ignored, we as a cultural and ethnic group face ethnocide and cultural genocide, at the expense of state sponsored greed for the ownership of stolen lands.
Cultural resources will not be preserved as they have you believing. Evidence exists where some states totally ignored NAGPRA Regulations and allowed for looting to continue. States often fail to comprehend the
importance of protecting Indigenous graves and remains.
PL 106-53 has the potential of conveyance of rights to water resources and aboriginal treaty occupancy rights to the state of South Dakota. This will impact or undermine the rights of certain tribes, namely those tribal
nations who were not signatory to the initial Mitigation Act.
We Requested Hearings!
In 1999, the Lakota Student Alliance Requested Senate oversight hearings to investigate all activities including but not limited to PL 106-53. We think it’s a dishonorable act on the part of the US governmental Congress as there rings an air of conspiracy in this land transfer. Lakota people are witnessing a new millennium of dishonorable dealings in this nation's history.
Understanding the foundation of historical mistreatment reveals the possibility that Lakota people cannot embrace any right to liberty or security. In fact, the US Civil Rights commission heard the testimonies from Indigenous people across South Dakota about racial tensions. "Although tension has been exacerbated by the perception of racial injustice surrounding these cases, for some it reflects “a vast cultural divide and a gulf of suspicion and mistrust between Indians and whites in a State that historically was one of the bloodiest battlegrounds between the races during the great westward expansion.” (William Clayborne, "A River of Indian Anger", Washington Post, Oct 23, 1999. p. A3)
Recent studies indicate that Water is becoming, “the bounty over which our homelands are won or lost” in the on-going Indian Wars. (National Indian Water Rights Project: An Analysis of Current and Pending Indian Water
Rights Settlements A Cooperative Project Between the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation and the Office of Trust Responsibilities, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Washington, D.C) Water is becoming the most important natural resource to the survival of Lakota people. Especially displaced native people in arid regions like badlands tribes.
Water is an important source for ceremonial use. At the Laframbois Island, camp members held prayers and ceremonies with the water. Though these ceremonies are so sacred to print, it is known that other tribes have
held similar water ceremonies also. These ceremonies are endangered and threatened with the passage of this law.
Various Tribal Councils have been in litigation regarding the possible violations of Ancestral Graves along the Missouri River. Though Courts may adjudicate the resolution of such violations, this still will not appease the spiritual philosophies held by various tribes which have to deal with restoring the integrity of burials, remains, artifacts, etc.
We Appeal to your sense of Justice and Cooperation in this important matter. We await your response to this request. If you should have further questions, feel free to contact us at the mailing address on this letter or drop us an email message anytime. Thanks for you time and concern.
Members of the Lakota Student Alliance
|Stop the Missouri River Land Transfer
What You can do:
1. Lakota Peoples on each Reservation must stand to defy the land transfer, the exploitation of natural and cultural resources of a state that openly disgraces Indigenous peoples in South Dakota
We Propose to the people:
a. Hold Peaceful Assemblies to picket Federal Buildings in your area.
b. Prepare for Legal Defense Organizing in fighting future litigation of land transfers on 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty Lands.
2. Encourage Tribal Councils to adopt resolutions supporting:
a. Repeal of PL 106-53, amended 106-541, known as the Water Resource Development Act (WRDA) Title VI.
b. Calls for Full Senate / Congressional Hearings into the Land Transfer based upon US Executive Orders, Environmental Statutes and Rules as cited on the SD Title VI Land Transfer Environmental Impact Study by the US Army Corps of Engineers Published July 2001.
"If History teaches us anything," Daschle said at the time,
"it is that large-scale transactions of land to right historical injustice are a prescription for hatred and discord."
"Political Efforts To Return Black Hills land to Sioux Fail"
by Frederic J. Frommer
Indian Protesters walk out of meeting on land transfer
Published 8 /25/01 by Sioux Falls Argus Leader
Land Transfer Draws Protest
by Heidi Bell Gease and Bill Harlan, Journal Staff Writers
Rapid City Journal 8/24/01
LSA Statements opposing the Title VI Land Transfer
The New AIM: the occupation of Laframbois Island Story by Worth Weller (Journalist)
A Life or Death Last Stand by Jon Lurie (Journalist)
Oceti Sakowin Camp on Laframbois Island SD by Midwest Treaty Network
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