Construction of the Oahe Dam on the Missouri River resulted in significant land takings from the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. President John F. Kennedy did not mention the tribes or their losses in his August 1962 dedication speech. Photo: Robert Knudsen / White House Photographs / John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston
Law | Opinion

Steven Newcomb: System of domination at play in #NoDAPL fight





Can the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe defeat the Dakota Access Pipeline using the courts of the colonizer? Steven Newcomb (Shawnee / Lenape) of the Indigenous Law Institute believes there's a way to break through the reality imposed by the system of domination known as federal Indian law:
The recent controversy over the Dakota Access Pipeline traces back to that process of reality-construction and the ability of the United States government to simply declare a given reality into existence. But there is something rather surprising in the historical record that most people know nothing about. It is surprising because it is language that still ought to be benefitting Native nations.

Take for example, “An Act to provide a temporary Government for the Territory of Dakota, which Congress passed in March of 1861.” Surprisingly, the Territory of Dakota did not include any Indian territory that had not been ceded or surrendered by treaty by an Indian nation.

But “all such [Indian] territory,” says the Dakota territorial act, “shall be excepted out of the boundaries and constitute no part of the Territory of Dakota, until said tribe shall signify their assent to the President of the United States to be included in said Territory.” To this day, the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires) and the Ihanktuwana Dakota Nation (“The Fires of the Great Sioux Nation”) have never given their assent to the President of the United States to have their Oceti Sakowin territory included in the Territory of Dakota.

That congressional act for the Territory of Dakota also stated that “nothing in this act. . . shall be construed to impair the rights of person or property now pertaining to the Indians in said Territory, so long as such rights shall remain unextinguished by treaty between the United States and such Indians…” To this day those rights remain unextinguished by treaty.

Read More:
Steven Newcomb: A Look at the U.S. Claim to Oceti Sakowin (The Great Sioux Nation) (Indian Country Today 10/3)

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