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The Obama Administration Will Seize Land from the Lakota Sioux if They aren’t Stopped

The only barrier standing in the way of another shameful broken treaty with our Native Americans is the U.S. Congress.

by
Bonnie Ramthun

Bio

July 19, 2014 - 6:00 am

lakota

The federal government is planning to take the South Unit of  Badlands National Park and turn it over to the Department of the Interior,  to have it administered by the National Park Service. The NPS was in the news last year when they barricaded our national monuments and prevented elderly WWII veterans from seeing their memorial during the sequester. The NPS put up barriers along scenic look-outs so drivers couldn’t see Mt. Rushmore, and closed park entrances across the country. These brown-shirted federal agents now intend to take and control thousands of acres of Sioux land.

This intended seizure by the Obama administration reads like something out of the history books, and not the part that makes you want to wave the American flag:

“Thousands of tribe members will be affected by the land-grab. Some residents will be forced to relocate, and many more others will lose their income from grazing allotments on the land – a result which will ultimately force any remaining independent cattle ranchers out of business. In addition to all this, Tribal members will lose their share [of] income from entrance fees collected at the adjacent North Gate fees of the Badlands National Park – a punitive measure which will further compound the existing economic depression on a reservation where the average annual income is around $8,000 per year.”

The Black Hills once belonged to the Lakota Sioux in a treaty signed by the U.S. government. These sacred lands were taken from them in 1877 after gold was discovered there by an expedition led by General George Custer. This shameful act by the U.S. government can be somewhat explained away by the history of the times, when a fierce war raged between Native Americans and new settlers and bigotry about the rights of non-whites ruled the day.

What excuse does the Obama administration have for their actions today? And if Congress passes this bill, what excuse will they give to the voters who put them in office?

Here’s a petition. Here’s your representative. The Obama administration shouldn’t get away with acting like a 19th century thug and the U.S. Congress shouldn’t allow it to. The Lakota Sioux deserve better. We all do.

Photograph courtesy of Cumulo Nimbus

Bonnie Ramthun lives in Colorado with her husband and children. She's the author of mysteries and thrillers for adults and children. Her middle grade mystery "The White Gates' was a Junior Library Guild premiere selection and was a finalist for the Missouri Truman award. All her novels are available on Amazon.
Top Rated Comments   
Sports teams are catching flak from the Feds for their Indian names while the Feds are trying to take away the Indians' land?
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Tribal members will lose their share [of] income from entrance fees collected at the adjacent North Gate fees of the Badlands National Park – a punitive measure which will further compound the existing economic depression on a reservation where the average annual income is around $8,000 per year."

He thinks at some point they've made enough money.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
The fascism of Wilson & FDR, the incompetence of Carter, the criminality of Nixon on steroids, and now the bigotry of the 19th Century. Heckuva job, Barry.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (21)
All Comments   (21)
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It bothers me that you start the article by talking about the sequester and blame NPS. For me, that equates to yelling at fast food restaurant employees when a menu item is no longer available. If Congress says jump, federally funded entities jump. If they, not NPS, say close, NPS closes. Don't shoot the messenger.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
And if you truly want to see government run healthcare in action, look at the abject failure called the Indian Health Service (IHS).How about waiting two months for an eye or dental appointment. Or having to drive 70 miles for emergency care even though two hospitals and several emergency care facilities are just blocks away. I know this to be true because my wife and children are enrolled tribal members and have to deal with them.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
They're not Elizabeth Warren's people (she's a Cherokee) so it's all good.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
But they have Elizabeth Warren's Pappa's high cheekbones!
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Great Cyanotic Nicotine Lipped Father in Washington take our land. Make Washington football team change name in return. I say bad deal. Hold out for new casino parking lot and government cheese. Live on perfect socialist reservation for as long as grass grows and water runs. Just like promised. Yeah.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Black Hills once belonged to the Lakota Sioux in a treaty signed by the US Government. These sacred lands were taken from them in 1877 after gold was discovered there by an expedition led by General George Custer.

The second of those two sentences should have also mentioned when the gold was discovered. The a Custer-led expedition could NOT have discovered the gold in 1877 since Custer was killed at the Little Bighorn in 1876, just a few days before America's Centennial.

I think you should have mentioned the year in which the gold was discovered - and I'm not sure when that was but it was 1876 or earlier - and then indicated that the land was expropriated in 1877. The current wording implies that the gold was discovered and the land expropriated pretty much simultaneously in an expedition led by Custer after he was already dead.

I'm sorry if this sounds like nitpicking but facts matter. The current wording gives a very misleading impression and might make a reader question the credibility of the person writing the article as in "if the writer can't get the basic facts right, why should I take the argument they're making seriously? They probably have those facts wrong too...."
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
I found a lot of petitions and complaints about "Evil Republican Congress" and "halt the evil republicans stealing land from Tribes".

There are various statements by the Tribes that land owners are not affected, only grazing rights, so that the bison can have land. Last I heard, Dems were opposed to leasing land to ranchers, indian or not.

It all starts here:
Environmental study for re-introduction of buffalo into area.
"...Congress would designate the South Unit as the first Tribal National Park to be managed by the National Park Service with special provision for Tribal involvement."
http://parkplanning.nps.gov/documentsList.cfm?projectID=17543

2012 record of decision by
http://www.nps.gov/badl/parknews/south-unit-general-management-plan-record-of-decision-signed.htm

2012 Tribe and Gov agree to proposed changes
http://nativetimes.com/news/tribal/7287-oglala-sioux-move-closer-to-establishing-first-tribal-national-park

2013 Tribe and National Parks Negotiating legislation
http://www.capjournal.com/news/tribal-national-park-draft-legislation-progressing/article_647ca854-6933-11e3-bbdc-0019bb2963f4.html

2013 The Tribal Council passed the Tribal Ordinance 2013 but did not tell anyone until after.
http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/tribal-national-park-debate-comes-to-wall/article_ccf96c1e-39fa-51a8-ae6d-cac09f783bc4.html

2014 Meetings and “Outreach’ to the community
http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/tribal-national-park-debate-comes-to-wall/article_ccf96c1e-39fa-51a8-ae6d-cac09f783bc4.html

Of course, the UN has weighed in on this.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
The bill has not been created so there is no bill to read. It's the kind of legislation that gets put into a larger bill and passed without comment unless people object. The National Park Service has released their recommendation to Congress, which you can read here: home.nps.gov/news/release.htm?id=1327
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
In a May 2008 campaign stop in Sioux Falls, candidate Barack Obama told a gathering of tribal leaders he was open to discussing the Black Hills with them.

In fact, those tribal leaders say, the Obama campaign gave them a proposal that read in part: "Barack Obama is a strong believer in tribal sovereignty. He does not believe courts or the federal government should force Sioux tribes to take settlement money for the Black Hills. ... Obama would not be opposed to bringing together all the different parties through government-to-government negotiations to explore innovative solutions to this long-standing issue."
Welcome to our world.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Translation: All your money are belong to my campaign.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm annoyed at the absence of a bill number. Give us a bill number so we can read the bill for ourselves. If it's a real, pending bill, it will be available online.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
It seems to have started with the Ogala Sioux Ordinance 13-21.

http://www.tsln.com/news/10771958-113/unit-park-national-buffalo
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've spent about 30 minutes looking for it but I can't find anything.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Who wrote the bill and where is the bill for people to read?
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
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