In this blog:
- Sign eviction notice for Dakota Access, Keystone XL pipelines
- Lakota People’s Law Project: Return Mount Rushmore
- Choctaw chief chosen to help redesign Mississippi state flag
- Cherokee Nation adopted racism from Europeans. It’s time to reject it.
Sign eviction notice for Dakota Access, Keystone XL pipelines
Mark K. Tilsen, Wahupa Luta, Oyupe Oglala Lakota is circulating eviction notices to remove the Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL Pipeline from Lakota lands. There are two similar petitions, one for allies, the other for members of the Oceti Sakowin Nation. The eviction notices read in part:
The Oceti Sakowin and our allies signed treaties with the United States Government, which according to the US Constitution, “treaties are the supreme law of the land.” The Ft. Laramie Treaty of 1868 acknowledges the sovereignty of the Oceti Sakowin, legally known as The Sioux Nation of Indians, over our lands “as long as the grass shall grow and the rivers will flow.” …
We hereby evict KXL and DAPL from our lands using our treaty rights. We also stand on our inherent rights as Indigenous people that are ours under Natural Law.
We invoke our ancestors to be with us now, for our water, for our land, and the generations yet unborn.
Lakota People’s Law Project: Return Mount Rushmore!
In related news, the Lakota Peoples Law Project is circulating a petition demanding the return of Mount Rushmore, and the Black Hills in general, to the Lakota people. The land claims rest on the same 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty rights Tilsen is using to justify evicting pipelines.
According to the petition:
In 1877, the US federal government unilaterally seized the Black Hills — which contain Mount Rushmore — from the Sioux, a direct violation of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. The treaty language stated that these lands should be reserved for the “absolute and undisturbed use and occupation of the Indians.”
In 1980, 40 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in United States vs. Sioux Nation of Indians that the government owed the Sioux more than $100 million as compensation for the federal government’s taking of the Black Hills and gold therein. The Sioux Nation has rejected the settlement and wants its land back.
“No amount of money could possibly alleviate the pain we feel at the repeated desecration of one of our most sacred sites,” the Lakota People’s Law Project wrote in an email. “True justice can only be accomplished one way: the return of the Black Hills to the Lakota people.”
Choctaw chief chosen to help redesign new Mississippi flag
Choctaw Chief Cyrus Ben is one of a nine-member commission created to redesign the Mississippi state flag, according to a story in Indian Country Today.
“The commission must design a new Mississippi flag that cannot include the Confederate emblem and must have the phrase, ‘In God We Trust,'” the story said.
The design is expected to go to a statewide vote in November.
Minnesota leaders need to follow Mississippi’s example and redesign our state flag and state seal, removing the image of Dakota rider being forced from the land.
Cherokee Nation adopted racism from Europeans. It’s time to reject it.
Rebecca Nagle, a citizen of Cherokee Nation, writes in High Country News about her nation’s long history of anti-Black racism. Her great uncle was Stand Watie, who led the Cherokees on the side of the Confederacy during the Civil War and was the last Confederate general to surrender to the Union.
The Cherokee Nation adopted “Southern chattel slavery from the American South in the early 1800s and our modern government’s disenfranchisement of the descendants of the people we enslaved,” she said. “It’s a history that still divides our citizens over what rights the descendants of those freedmen should have, as well as the larger conversation concerning who is ‘legitimately’ Cherokee.”
Click here for the full story. It closes with this paragraph:
Throughout our history, Cherokees have taken things from Europeans, adapted them and made them ours. We added glass beads to our bandolier bags, a crescent shape to our gorgets, and hog meat to our cuisine. But some of the things that we took from Europeans serve neither our tribe nor our people. From white society, we adopted racism — plain and simple. That is our history. Rooting out the visible ways that racism still exists within the Cherokee Nation is not erasing our history, but building a better future for our tribe.