Friday, August 7, 2009

Symbolism easier than action on Tribal claims

Two stories from DC show that conquest of the Great Plains is an unfinished story. Something many of us read as "history" or viewed as movie entertainment is still playing out.

A formal apology to the Tribes (all North American Tribes, not just those of the Plains) will come to a Senate vote shortly. The apology is a symbolic goodwill gesture, with no policy provisions.

Meanwhile, South Dakota's Black Hills remain a political hot potato in Federal Courts, various jurisdictional bureaucracies, and Tribal governments. Standing Federal rulings admit that the land was taken from the Tribes in breach of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty. But the United States will not return land, only monetary damages. Most Tribes are unwilling to take money in place of the land, but some are seeking a share of the money now held in trust by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

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