Editorial: Tribes must come up with plan for return of Black Hills

$1.4 billion? After the tribes embezzle what they want we should get about $40 dollars each.

Go to Black Hills Survey on our Website and vote
By Native Sun News Editorial Board

Native Sun News is doing a survey on its web site asking tribal members of the Great Sioux Nation to vote on whether they still are determined that the Black Hills are not for sale, or if they would accept the more than $1.4 billion dollars now in the Black Hills Settlement Account.

We are asking this to get a feel about how the Oyate feel about this and if they are willing to continue the decade’s long fight to get a large portion of the Black Hills returned to them. A Bill introduced by New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley in 1980. The Bill died for lack of support in Congress and because the 9 tribes could not come together as one in support of it. Bradley finally gave up pushing the Bill saying, “When the tribes get their act together then I will proceed.”

Well, that hasn’t happened. There was renewed hope when Barack Obama was elected president nearly 8 years ago. Several meetings were held on several reservations in South Dakota to come up with a unified plan of action, but after all was said and done, nothing has happened to advance a Bill that would be fashioned in the mold of the Bradley Bill that would call for a return of 1.3 million acres of National Park Service land to the Oyate. The 8 years went by swiftly and now another election is upon us to replace Obama as president. In what was one of the most opportune times in our history we let it slip through our fingers because of a lack of unity and purpose.

Are we going to continue on the path of separation and disunity when it comes to one of the most important issues ever to face us? If we are lucky a Democrat will be elected as the next president because if a Republican like Donald Trump wins the election there is now way he would support returning any land to the people of the Great Sioux Nation.

It is time for the leadership of all nine tribes to step up, quit the squabbling and put together a solid plan based on the foundation formed by the Bradley Bill. We have published the entire Bradley Bill twice in the past five years so that the tribal leadership would take the opportunity to review it thoroughly and use it as a guideline for another such Bill. As pragmatists we all know that no individually owned land, municipalities, state-owned land, or National Park lands would ever be considered for return to the Oyate. But asking for 1.3 million acres of National Park Service land is a very practicable solution.

If you go to www.nsweekly.com, our website and check on the survey voting you will be surprised to see that nearly 25 percent of those responding would take the money. This percentage has grown from 99 percent against the money just 5 years ago. So not only is time wasting, but it seems that the people are getting impatient and the younger generation may not have the same feelings for the return of the land as the older generation.

Read the survey and vote. The leaders need to know what the people think. We are all free to vote our conscience. By conducting this survey we hope to encourage our tribal leaders to get their act together and start moving towards a solution because by sitting on their hands they are risking losing the support of the people.

For more news and opinion, visit the all new Native Sun News website: Go to Black Hills Survey on our Website and vote

(The Editorial Board can be reached at editor@nsweekly.com)

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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