Tribal leaders organized the Great Sioux Nations Tribal Address 2020 after the South Dakota Legislature asked a state employee to speak about Indian issues instead of asking a tribal leader.

The State of South Dakota and the Sioux Tribes

When I heard on TV about the "State of the Tribes" address in Pierre, and the Tribal Chairmen meeting in Pierre about that, I knew our grandparents, great-grandparents, and especially the Treaty signers would be shaking their heads. Then I saw a picture of Governor Kristi Noem meeting with the head of the U.S. Indian Health Service (IHS), Rear Admiral Michael D. Weahkee, and I knew nothing good is coming.

Growing up, I was always told by elders, “We don’t deal with the state government because it is illegal. We only deal with the President of the United States or the Secretary of State, as we are our own nation. There is a protocol.”

I don’t blame the Tribal Chairmen from trying to emulate the white government, because that is what Colonization has always been about. Colonization was and is the forceful changing of us from who the Creator made us to be into what the white people want us to be ... them. We can never be white because our DNA is different.

But their Colonization efforts have hurt our DNA so much that it stops us from things like being able to speak our own language, or being so docile that we want to be just like them, just like the Tribal chairmen are doing even though some of their own tribal governments are illegal, like the Oglala Sioux Tribal government. But that’s another story.

The effects on our DNA come from the natural process of survival and have been passed down through the generations on our DNA. It’s called “trauma imprint.” But I’m sidetracking from the ‘state’ and the Governor, the tribes and the 1868 Treaty.

We need to constantly remember that we are a nation, not a tribe. Creating “tribes” and reservations was a U.S. Government war tactic to divide and conquer, and it worked. Don’t forget that.

We are not “tribes” but are people of one nation, the Sioux Nation, and we have an International Treaty with the United States. That means the 1868 Treaty is between two (2) separate and distinct nations. Furthermore, the 1868 Treaty is still recognized by the U.S. government and has been upheld in American courts in different court cases. (See Richard v. United States, or Elk v. United States) Hopefully it will also be upheld in Gilbert v. Weahkee, the current case against the IHS.


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Charmaine White Face or Zumila Wobaga, (72) is an Oglala Tituwan Oceti Sakowin great-grandmother, scientist, writer, and organizer. She can be reached at

Photo of Wakpa Sica Reconciliation Place, near Pierre, South Dakota, by Keith Ewing

Copyright permission Native Sun News Today

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