Honor The Treaties

Our Lakota origin story recounts our emergence from Wind Cave in the Black Hills. No other people on Earth can say they were born from Wind Cave.

Our ancestors negotiated treaties with the federal government in good faith. The Black Hills were set aside for the Oceti Sakowin because of the treaties. Yet, the discovery of gold saw the treaties signed by the federal government officials horribly violated.

Treaties, according to the United States, are the “supreme law of the land.” Yet, the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 has never been upheld by the federal government. Treaty law was violated and the illegal theft of our sacred HeSapa happened when the wasicu discovered gold in 1874. The gold made the wasicu crazy. They’ve never fully recovered from their insanity.

The lawsuit filed to win back the Black Hills by the Oceti Sakowinresulted in a large cash settlement. The money has never been accepted by our people because the Black Hills were never for sale. The money continues to earn interest in some wasicu bank.

Our world is dealing with a dangerous pandemic. The corona virus (COVID-19) continues to infect people all over this country, this state and our tribal lands. Our tribes had to create new laws to protect citizens from uncontrolled outbreaks of COVID-19.

Yet, Governor Kristi Noem disregarded safely and hosted President Donald Trump (POTUS) to watch Chinese-made fireworks explode. Also, news outlets reported that a member of the POTUS crew test positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in South Dakota last week. Despite the positive case in the POTUS crew, there was no social distancing displayed by the governor or any of the wasicu in the group. Most attendees also did not wear face masks.

I saw many relatives posting on social media about the POTUS speech at Mount Rushmore. I don’t watch any of the news networks on television anymore. And I specifically won’t watch any broadcasts of the POTUS talking because I refuse to suffer his evil voice. Hearing him verbalize his hateful words has the same effect as the screech of someone dragging their fingernails slowly down a chalkboard. Trump’s voice is extremely irritating to many people.

Photo by Willie White (NDN Collective)
Photo taken near Keystone SD on Friday, July 3, 2020. Willie White (NDN Collective) photo.

While you were all watching Noem and Trump ham it up in front of the network cameras, I watched several live feeds shared by Indigenous people and allies providing coverage of the protest against the POTUS visit to the HeSapa. The courage displayed by our long-gone ancestors was definitely brought into the present by Lakota treaty protectors. The highway was shut down for several hours by strong treaty protectors holding down the front line in the face of fully-armed police wearing riot gear.

Keystone, SD on July 3, 2020. Courtesy photo.

The treaty protectors stood fearless on an asphalt highway for several hours in the July heat against a mob of National Guard police sent to push them off the road in our sacred Black Hills. They sacrificed their safety by putting themselves in harms way. A major highlight was the livestream depicting an Indigenous Sister bravely counting coup on the police line with an Oglala Lakota Nation flag.

Many Lakota people and their allies suffered both the verbal and physical abuse of white supremacists on July 3 in our sacred HeSapa. Several others sacrificed their freedom by being arrested and taken to Pennington County Jail.

Tilsen 1

Most of those arrested were released over the weekend. Nick Tilsen – NDN Collective President/CEO and an organizer of the protest – was still being held in Pennington County Jail on Monday. Tilsen faces several charges as a political prisoner for his leadership as a treaty protector.

Wopila Nick! You showed us how to defend the sacred HeSapa for the coming generations. We appreciate your sacrifice!

Published by Vi Waln


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