Riders from the Oglala Sioux Tribe take part in the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 at Fort Laramie in Wyoming in 2019. Photo by Richie Richards / Native Sun News Today
Fracking violates treaties: Tribes protest
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Native Sun News Today Health & Environment Editor

PINE RIDGE – On August 31, Oglala Sioux Tribal Acting President Thomas Poor Bear sent an official letter to the federal Bureau of Land Management requesting it take into account overlooked treaty rights before issuing a decision on a proposal to open up Wyoming oil-and-gas fracking.

The origin history of the Sioux tribes in relation to the Black Hills, which was used as a basis for decision making in the development, “is based on the speculation of white historians,” the “Letter of Protest to the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Proposed Resource Management Plan Amendment (RMPA) for the Converse County Oil and Gas Project” complains.

The letter is filed on behalf of all Sioux tribes in the Great Plains Tribal Water Alliance, Inc., which coordinates Missouri River Basin water protection.

The impact statement “did not include any history from Sioux spiritual leaders and historians,” leading to a charge that BLM Authorizing Officer Stephanie Connally “failed to fulfill the intent and process outlined in the National Environmental Policy Act and implementing regulations,” as necessary for cultural resource preservation.

The BLM’s final analysis and proposed action for the Converse County Oil and Gas Project is available for public review…

Posted by Bureau of Land Management – Wyoming on Thursday, July 30, 2020

The protest letter notes that the area under consideration has not been ceded to the United States by the Great Sioux Nation and remains under the jurisdiction of the Oceti Sakowin due to the Ft. Laramie treaties of 1851 and 1868.

“Thus, the Sioux Nation enjoys extensive treaty rights in the project area, including reserved water rights to the Missouri River and Cheyenne River downstream from the project area,” the tribes argue.

“Significantly, Indian water rights include the right to adequate water quality for all beneficial uses,” they note, citing the Winters Doctrine, a legal conclusion that states, “Upstream, non-Indian users may be required to limit their diversions as necessary to achieve or preserve the required quality of tribal water rights.”


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