Environment | Opinion

Bryan Brewer: Park helps Oglala Sioux Tribe protect its culture

A view of the Badlands National Park in South Dakota. Photo from National Park Service

Bryan Brewer, the president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, urges support for a bill to manage the South Unit of the Badlands National Park:
For the past several years, the Oglala Sioux Tribe has been working with the National Parks Service on the Tribal National Park. We need Federal legislation to make the Tribal National Park a full unit of the National Park Service under joint management by the Secretary and the Oglala Sioux Tribe. The proposed legislation would recognize the Oglala Sioux Tribe as a Federally recognized Indian tribe, with the right of self-government, including territorial and resource management, and our home on the Pine Ridge Reservation under the 1868 Treaty. The purposes of the Act are to preserve, protect and interpret the cultural, historic, prehistoric, scientific and scenic values of the area, including the history, culture and heritage of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and Lakota people.

The bill would establish a Tribal National Park Commission to cooperatively manage the Park with seven representatives appointed by the Secretary based on the recommendations of the Tribal Council, including representatives nominated by the Tribal Land Office, Tribal Natural Resources Office (in consultation with Tribal Historic Preservation), the President of Oglala Lakota College, the Tribal President and Tribal Council.

The bill authorizes the reintroduction of buffalo into the area in accordance with the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s management plan, and the Tribe can establish a herd large enough to provide a natural environment for the buffalo herd, with natural selection ensuring a healthy, natural herd. Some grazing permits within the area will come to an end to make way for our buffalo, but tribal members with affected grazing permits will be offered reasonable substitute grazing lands.

Get the Story:
Bryan Brewer: Time for the Tribal National Park to Properly Honor Native Culture (Indian Country Today 10/20)

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Regina Brave: The earth that once was will soon be no more (9/19)
SDPR: Oglala Sioux Tribe absent at meeting over national park (6/10)
Oglala Sioux Tribe faces questions on management of park land (2/20)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe responds to park critics (12/12)
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Oglala Sioux Tribe still working on bill to handle national park (6/25