Johnson and Thune cool to Black Hills talk
Sen. Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota) and Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota) aren't eager to talk about the Black Hills even as Sioux tribes have been holding historic meetings to discuss a potential settlement.

Johnson isn't taking a position because he said the tribes haven't come to a consensus on the issue. "While I understand the importance of the Black Hills to the Great Sioux Nation, I will continue to concentrate on issues that affect the quality of life in Indian Country," he said in a weekly conference call, The Rapid City Journal reported.

Thune has a stronger position -- that the issue has already been decided. "That issue was settled by the courts a long time ago," Thune said in his conference call, the Journal reported. "It's certainly not something I anticipate being engaged in trying to reopen. I think we need to focus on the things that really do, in a tangible way, improve the quality of lives of people on the reservation."

Treaties recognized the Sioux Nation's ownership of the Black Hills. But the Indian Claims Commission said the tribes lost the land to non-Indians and awarded them $106 million in 1980.

The trust fund has since grown to nearly $900 million. The tribes refuse to accept the money although some individual members want to take it.

Get the Story:
Thune, Johnson say apology to Native Americans not enough (The Rapid City Journal 10/8)

Related Stories:
Sioux tribes meet over Black Hills settlement (9/25)
Sioux leaders hopeful for Black Hills settlement (08/31)
Native Sun News: Tribes unite over the Black Hills (8/28)
Spiritual leaders to discuss Black Hills lawsuit (7/15)
David Swallow: The Black Hills are everything (7/7)
Rosebud Sioux Tribe opposes Black Hills lawsuit (6/9)
Rosebud Sioux Tribe lobbies Obama on Black Hills (5/18)
Lawsuit seeks distribution of Black Hills trust fund (4/23)