South Dakota lawmakers, U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), at the behest of S.D. Governor Dennis Daugaard, have introduced legislation intended to facilitate a federal-state land transfer of 1,992-acres of federally-owned land in the Black Hills.
The land in question rightfully belongs to the Oceti Sakowin (The Great Sioux Nation) under the Fort Laramie Treaties of 1851 and 1868. These treaties, ratified by the U.S. Senate, recognized title in the “Sioux Nation” to approximately 60 million acres of land within present day Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming, and established the “Great Sioux Reservation” which is made up of 26 million acres of land, including the Black Hills. This land was set aside for our “absolute and undisturbed use and occupation.” It also set forth that in order to be valid, any future cession of these lands would require the signatures of 3/4ths of the adult male population from the aforementioned “Sioux” bands.
The U.S. government unilaterally breached these treaties when it opened the Black Hills for settlement after gold was discovered there. In The Great Sioux Nation vs. the United States (1980), the Supreme Court of the United States agreed that the seizure of the Black Hills by the U.S. was an unlawful taking.
The Rosebud Sioux Tribe and other Oceti Sakowin Tribes were not notified or consulted by federal or state government on this matter.
We are asserting our rights under treaty law and hereby oppose this federal to state land transfer.
The Rosebud Sioux Tribe has gone on record in RST Resolution no. 2016-230 stating, “the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council hereby opposes the State of South Dakota Governor and Congressional Delegation efforts and any and all legislation for the federal-state land exchange because those lands are part of the 1851 and 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty, and belong to the Oceti Sakowin Dakota, Lakota and Nakota tribes and are in violation of the 1851 and 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaties.
We demand that all legislation on this federal to state land exchange of Black Hills parcels cease. We also demand that any further legislation involving the transfer of federal Black Hills lands to the state of South Dakota not be initiated without first consulting with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the other Oceti Sakowin Tribes.