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The Black Hills -


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- of Dakota: seems they belonged to the Sioux Nation by a Treaty of 1878(?), which inconvenienced the US Gov, when gold was discovered there. They then tried to buy out the Sioux, an offer which the Indians have refused ever since. The US supreme court found in favour of the Sioux, but didn't return the land, but affirmed the payment (todate unclaimed), which now ammounts to $600million! :shock:

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Charlotte Black Elk, who has been active in traditional issues including the Black Hills, said she would never consider taking money for the Black Hills, which the Sioux hold sacred.

 

"To take the money would bless the theft," said Black Elk, who lives on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

 

The dispute is more than 130 years old.

 

In an 1868 treaty, the United States government agreed the Black Hills would be set aside for use by the Sioux. After gold was discovered there, miners and other fortune-seekers flocked to the area. That led to military battles that culminated in George Custer's defeat at the Little Big Horn in 1876.

 

When the Sioux refused to sign a new treaty giving up the Black Hills, Congress passed a law taking the land in 1877.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court in 1980 upheld a lower court ruling that awarded eight Sioux Tribes $106 million in compensation, the 1877 value of $17.5 million plus interest. The justices said the government had to pay for taking the tribal property.

 

However, all the Sioux tribes have refused to take the money, insisting instead on the return of the land.

 

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Sioux Falls, also seeks the distribution of money from another case that awarded the Sioux compensation for the taking of timber, water and mineral rights in the Black Hills.

 

The lawsuit asks a federal judge to decide how to allocate the money among tribal members and to order the U.S. Interior Department to release the money from trust funds.

 

Howey-Fox, the lawyer for those filing the lawsuit, said the court rulings that awarded money for the Black Hills are final and cannot be appealed. That means money is the only remedy tribal members can get for the loss of the land, she said.

 

The trust funds recently held about $900 million, she said.

 

The lawsuit lists only 19 plaintiffs, but Howey-Fox said about 5,000 tribal members have signed up. Many who live on reservations do not want to be named plaintiffs because they fear retribution from those who oppose taking money for the Black Hills, she said.

 

Howey-Fox said the money should be disbursed to individual tribal members.

 

"There are people who actually think the Black Hills are coming back. I can pretty much guarantee that's not happening," Howey-Fox said.

 

Gonzalez, who has represented the Oglala Sioux Tribe for several decades in legal issues involving the Black Hills, said he expects the lawsuit will be dismissed under a federal law dealing with the disbursement of such funds. The tribes refused to accept the money during the time allotted, so the Interior Department can now disburse the funds only with the approval of Congress, he said.

 

Black Elk said tribal members who agree to take the money would be giving up their identities as Native Americans. Anyone who wants money for the Black Hills should not live on the reservations, she said.

 

"You're not just taking money. You're prostituting yourself," Black Elk said.

:wink: Some people actually live by their principles - who are we to judge?

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Interesting the myth and romance of the red man; the Sioux originally lived around the west of the great lakes, but were driven west by the Cree; the Sioux in turn displaced the tribes from the Black Hills area - then the big white tribe displaced them - so who's right and who's wrong? Believe there is no word in any native American language for "ownership" - whilst the whites are obsessed with it. :?:cry:

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