Editorial: Let Oglala Sioux Tribe decide fate of Badlands
"The Badlands National Park's South Unit doesn't draw tourists the way the park's north section does.

By a quirk of geography - the North Unit borders the interstate - and complex and controversial history, that section of the park doesn't get much use.

The land itself, inside the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, is under the joint control of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the National Park Service.

It wasn't always. Before it was seized, in the 1940s, by the federal government for use as a bombing range, it was tribal land. In the 1970s, the government gave the tribe two choices: Agree to co-manage the land as a park or watch as it was auctioned off.

The tribe and the feds have been controlling the land cooperatively ever since.

Now, decades later, there's an overdue push to return the land to the tribe - in some sense its rightful owner. But any meaningful ownership change would require congressional approval.

More tribal involvement would likely be a good thing for both the tribe and the land. The tribe could develop better cultural tourism on the land while protecting sacred sites."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Let tribe decide options for Badlands control (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 7/11)

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Editorial: Badlands cleanup good for Oglala Sioux (7/2)
Oglala Sioux Tribe debates return of parkland (6/9)