Oceti Sakowin Oyate
Dear President Biden:
Greetings from the spiritual people of the Oceti Sakowin Oyate (the Seven Council Fires Confederation,) also known by the United States as the Great Sioux Nation. We are representatives of some of the member nations, the Council Fires, and traditional treaty councils.
Congratulations on your election as president.
We hope to be able to meet soon with you or representatives of your administration and the United States Congress to discuss these matters.
We have been closely following your initial actions since your election, particularly your Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships signed by you on January 26, 2021.
Therein, you recognized Native nations as sovereign and made it a priority for your Administration to respect such sovereignty and their self-governance and that you are further committed to fulfilling treaty responsibilities to Native nations with “regular, meaningful, and robust consultation.”
You emphasized that honoring the solemn promises the United States has made to Native nations for more than two centuries is “particularly vital now.” You refer to strengthening the nation-to-nation relationship between the United States and tribal nations through such consultation.
It did not go unnoticed that your memorandum highlighted the two centuries of solemn promises the United States has made to Native nations and peoples — including those contained in nation-to-nation treaties.
Your memorandum also refers to your administration’s commitment to tribal nations and sovereignty, and most prominently describes the relationship not as one government to another, but as one nation to another nation — which you voiced a desire to strengthen.
This is where our revisitation of the relationship between Native nations such as ours and the United States must begin.
Our nation and people, the Oceti Sakowin Oyate, entered into many treaties with the United States as equal sovereigns and, after defeating the United States in wars of defense, entered into the 1851 Treaty at Fort Laramie and the 1868 Treaty at Fort Laramie, whereby the United States formally recognized and respected and guaranteed from incursion, the territory and exclusive sovereignty of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ Oyáte.
We are encouraged by your renewed focus on the nation-to-nation nature of the relationship between Native nations and peoples and the United States.
We believe that approach is not only legally and historically compelled but provides a very long overdue opportunity both for the United States to begin the real and substantive process of decolonization, to repair its relationship with Native nations and peoples.
We seek in complete good faith and fairness to establish a new 21st Century relationship with the United States, a fully strengthened nation-to-nation and decolonized one, wolakota (a time and treaty of peace) in compliance with international law and international human rights standards as well as our own laws (woope), history, culture and traditions.
We hope to hear from you and your representatives soon so we can get to work.
Wopila (Thank you),
Rodney M. Bordeaux
Sicangu Lakota Oyate
Sicangu Lakota Treaty Council
Oglala Lakota Oyate
Black Hills Sioux Nation Council
Hunkpapa Lakota Oyate
Cedric Good House
Hunkpapa Lakota Treaty Council
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
Harry Little Thunder
Cheyenne River Treaty Council