Last week I blogged about the Lakota Freedom Delegation’s attempt at treaty withdrawal. This week I thought I’d blog about why treaties are important to native people.
Most people know that treaties are important to American Indians—somehow. Most people also know the stories of how the US has failed throughout the years to honor treaty obligations to native peoples.
Fortunately for those who aren’t exactly sure why treaties are important to Indians or why they are continually relevant, the article excerpt below, with statements from the President of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the Chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, explains:
The Treaties signed by representatives of the Great Sioux Nation including the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 have the same legal force and effect as Treaties signed by the United States with foreign nations. They are part of the Supreme Law of the land under the United States Constitution and recognized under international law. “Those Treaties have the force of law to this day,” Bordeaux said.
Indian Tribes are recognized by the US government and the US Supreme Court as distinct, independent political bodies possessing the powers of self-government of any sovereign nation. There are over 400 Treaties and 5000 federal statutes that establish the relationship between Indian Tribes and the US Government. The US Government has agreed to trust responsibilities in treaties, statutes and regulations to provide members of Indian Tribes with various governmental services including health, education, law enforcement services and to control and protection over Indian lands and our sacred sites.
The Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and all the Sioux Tribes, have constitutions and bylaws approved by the people of the tribes and recognized by the U.S. Government. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe is governed by the Tribal Council elected by the people. “We have between approximately 20,000 tribal members living on or near 900,000 acres of trust land. The Lakota Freedom Delegation does not have any authorization from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe to speak on its behalf.
Chairman Joseph Brings Plenty of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe said that “both the elected and traditional Sioux leadership have been confronting the U. S. Government to restore federally held treaty lands to the tribes, and to provide adequate funding for our services. These are our lands and the treaties are our strength. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and others in the Great Sioux Nation have been working to get the United States to live up to its treaty obligations.”
Bordeaux added “the United States’ theft of Sioux lands and resources has placed the Sioux people in abject poverty on the reservations. I am in favor of asking countries around the world for foreign aid to rehabilitate our tribes and reservations; the United States Government promised a quid pro quo in the 1877 Black Hills Act that they would provide all necessary “aid” to the Sioux tribes in exchange for the Sioux territory they were illegally attempting to confiscate; still, the United States has never fulfilled these obligations even under this Act. We are already looking to foreign governments in an organized way for help to supplement the inadequate funding that we presently receive from the United States under our treaties. We will continue to safeguard our treaties, our culture and who we are as a sovereign people. Many people, including members of other Tribes fail to understand the importance of Treaties and the foundation they provide for Tribal self-Government and the right of each Tribe to pass its own laws. I encourage everyone to educate themselves on the Treaties and laws governing the Indian Tribes and the relationship with the US”
(HT: Turtle Talk)
P.S. For full article, click Turtle Talk!