Chairman Harold Frazier leads in the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe riders who arrived at Fort Laramie in Wyoming after a 350-mile trek from South Dakota. Photo by Richie Richards / Native Sun News Today

Native Sun News Today: 'Sovereignty is Real'

Fort Laramie 2020 Oceti Sakowin Gathering: ‘Sovereignty is Real’

FT. LARAMIE, Wyoming – The 2020 Oceti Sakowin Gathering of treaty nations and councils here September 4-6 is entitled “Sovereignty is Real.” It avails itself of the historic landmark where the United States and adherents of the Seven Council Fires of the Great Sioux Nation signed the treaties of 1851 and 1868, supposedly to guarantee the Northern Great Plains tribes continued dominion over ancestral lands.

“Our people need us to be united and prepared to be strong advocates for the Oyate,” the organizers said in announcing the event. “We do not have time on our side. A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision holds important implications for our treaties, the Oceti Sakowin Oyate, and the Great Sioux Nation as a whole.”

The July 9 court decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma confirmed the Eastern Oklahoma tribes’ right to jurisdiction over activities within their reservation boundaries, which have long been under state and local control. Legal analysis will be presented at the gathering to address the meaning of the ruling for the return of unceded treaty territory rights in the Black Hills and for lands administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the Dakota Access Pipeline route, which tribes are fighting in court with widespread popular support.

Discussion about the efficacy of tribal governments established by the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act will be held in the context of the ruling’s implications, according to the proposed agenda. The item focuses on the notion that the system is a failure and fosters dependency.

A report is scheduled to update participants on the federal Internal Revenue Service accounting for the interest money accrued to the tribes in the $105-million compensation awarded for the U.S. government’s illegal taking of the Black Hills, as stated in the Supreme Court case United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians.

As of 2018, this amounted to more than $1.4 billion. The tribes have refused the payment, hoping instead for legislation to return the federal portion of the land. The legislation and the Black Hills Initiative for Unity are set for dialogue.


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