Black Hills Land Defenders
Land defenders in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Photo by Willi White, Courtesy of NDN Collective
Time to Acknowledge America’s Genocide Against Native Americans
Monday, August 23, 2021
President, Rosebud Sioux Tribe

America committed Genocide against American Indians. President Biden has acknowledged the Armenian Genocide, so he must acknowledge the America’s Genocide.

President Biden, in the cause of humanity, it’s time to publicly proclaim the Apology to Native Americans that Congress enacted in 2009. Our Rosebud Tribal Councilman Gabe Medicine Eagle championed this issue. America should know the truth. It is time to establish a Native Sovereign Nation Treaty Commission. America must re-name Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and President Biden should issue the requisite Proclamation.

In our Lakota winter counts, we remember Indian traders giving smallpox blankets and the dawn attacks of the U.S. Army on sleeping villages. Disregarding our treaties of peace and friendship, the United States massacred our Lakota People over a Mormon Cow and the transgressions of its own troops, who murdered Chief Conquering Bear in violation of the 1851 Treaty with the Sioux Nation.

Rodney M. Bordeaux
Rodney M. Bordeaux. Courtesy photo

In the late 1860s in the wake of the Civil War, President Johnson and Congress established the Indian Peace Policy as the 14th Amendment was adopted. To end the Powder River War, the United States pledged its honor that “war shall forever cease” in the 1868 Treaty. The United States guaranteed the “permanent home” of the Great Sioux Nation, including the Black Hills of South Dakota, and our unceded Indian territory in North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas.

At his Second Inauguration, President Grant said, its “Civilization or Extermination.” He sent Generals Sherman and Sheridan on a scorched earth winter campaign against the Sioux and Cheyenne Nations. In the summer, President Grant ordered Custer to attack our Sioux and Cheyenne Nations at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Crazy Horse defeated Custer, whose men had wantonly attacked women and children at home in their tipis on treaty-protected land. In violation of the Constitution and our Treaties, President Grant sent more Armies to kill our Lakota People for living on our treaty lands.

In 1890, the 7th Cavalry massacred our Lakota People at Wounded Knee for dancing the Ghost Dance, seeking to restore our relatives. America so feared us, that it killed our Lakota People after the Cavalry disarmed our warriors, shooting babies on their mother’s backs and killing small boys, after calling for their surrender.

Wounded Knee Cemetery
The Wounded Knee cemetery on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Photo: Jeremiah Murphy

The Supreme Court played its part in the Genocide against Native Americans, giving America license to violate Indian treaties under the “plenary power” doctrine. The fictional doctrine violates our human rights and America’s Organic Documents, contrary to the original understanding of the Constitution. In Lone Wolf, the Supreme Court held that America had free license to sell Indian lands, contrary to treaty, because the United States was “protecting” us.

Treaties are based upon mutual consent between the United States and Native Sovereign Nations. Read the Constitution, the 1803 Louisiana Purchase Treaty, and the 1805 Treaty with the Sioux Nation which sought Sioux Nation recognition of Federal sovereignty. Message to Supreme Court, follow the law—stop your violations of our humanity.

Here’s the truth. Native American Nations are Peoples in our own right. The Creator gave us the breath of life. With life, liberty and freedom to follow our visions to protect Grandmother Earth. Our rights are inalienable. America’s Organic Acts mandate treaties based upon mutual consent. Our Native Peoples have never consented to American hegemony and we never will, mutual consent is the cornerstone of our Nation-to-Nation relations.

The Supreme Court’s plenary power doctrine is institutionalized racism: “Plenary power” is a constitutional apportionment between the United States and states, not Indian tribes who are original independent sovereign nations. If the Supreme Court thinks about it for one minute, the Justices will realize they are wrong. Justice Elena Kagan, it’s time to recognize humanity—the plenary power language in your Bay Mills opinion violates our human rights.

The Creator endowed us, as Native Peoples, with inalienable rights and our long-ago grandmothers and grandfathers created our Native Sovereign Nations at the beginning of time.

President Biden, we call upon you to establish a Native Sovereign Nation Treaty Commission to enforce our rights. We can no longer be left to the mercy of the unilateral decisions of the Supreme Court. Humanity mandates decisions based upon mutual consent between the United States and Native Sovereign Nations.


President Rodney M. Bordeaux is currently serving in his fourth term leading the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. He holds concurrent leadership positions with the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association, the Great Plains Tribal Leaders Health Board, the National Congress of American Indians, and Dakotans for Health. Mr. Bordeaux received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Augustana College and a Master of Arts from Oglala Lakota College.