treaty of fort laramie

Dakota Access Pipeline workers bulldozed sacred sites and graves in North Dakota on Sunday, and I found out today that one of those graves belonged to one of my relatives…

I’m not even from Standing Rock and they desecrated a grave of my family member, Charles Picotte (Eta-ke-cha). He isn’t just a long dead man people have forgotten about, this was the grave of a man whose face I know, who I have pictures of in family albums. A family member that lived through the transition to reservation life. I’m upset. I’m angry. I’m shocked right now because it hits home. He was a translator and one of the signers of the Treaty of Fort Laramie, a treaty that 3 of my relatives signed, a treaty they are breaking RIGHT NOW with this pipeline.

I’ve never set foot in Standing Rock, I don’t even know anyone from Standing Rock. But this has affected me all the way over here in Washington, and this is an attack on the rights of native peoples. People need to share what’s happening right now, how they’re desecrating these sacred sites, hiring paramilitary, unleashing dogs and tear gas on protesters defending the health and future of their community, plus their treaty rights, because the media is ignoring all of this. Sign the petition to stop it, send donations to the Sacred Stone camp, raise awareness. This is about the interests of a corporation being put before indigenous peoples rights and health.

They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one; they promised to take our land, and they took it.
—  Lakota chief Red Cloud (1822 - 1909). He was a widely respected Lakota Sioux warrior who led a successful campaign in 1866–1868 known as Red Cloud’s War over control of the Powder River Country in northeastern Wyoming and southern Montana. Red Cloud also led his people in the transition to reservation life after the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1868. He continued to advocate for his people’s interests, including traveling to DC to meet with President Grant and negotiating strongly with various Indian Agents.
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December 15th 1890: Sitting Bull killed

On this day in 1890, the Native American Lakota Sioux chief, Sitting Bull, was killed at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Formal peaceful relations between the Sioux and the United States government began in 1868 upon the signing of the Fort Laramie Treaty. However, the discovery of gold in the Black Hills - which were in Sioux territory - in the 1870s led to a torrent of white prospectors invading the Sioux lands. The numerous Sioux tribes united under Sitting Bull’s leadership, and initially secured some major military victories over American forces. The most famous battle of the Great Sioux War of 1876 was the Battle of Little Bighorn, where Sioux and Cheyenne warriors defeated the famed General Custer. Sitting Bull then led his people to Canada, only to come back to America in 1881. It was around this time that he joined Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show, but he soon returned to his people to protect the rights of indigenous Americans. Sitting Bull was killed on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in 1890 by U.S. troops, who were trying to arrest him under fears he would join the Ghost Dance movement.

“I would rather die an Indian than live a white man”

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

**** immediately off the top of my head I can list 3 rights that have been denied to the Sioux tribe and protesters in Standing Rock.

But of course, the government is ignoring the Treaty of Fort Laramie of 1851 so what’s a few constitutional rights violations.

My government is corrupt. They hold the interests of Big Business over the needs of their people. But then again, they have only ever seen the Indigenous Peoples as savages.

This is why it’s so important and imperative to not just protest on site and in DC. But protest outside any business that supports and/or funds the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Let them know, if they chose to back corrupt, greedy businessmen, then you have no choice but to take your business (money) to a more environmentally friendly business or bank.

We have more power than we claim. When we realize this, we can change the world.

Take back control of this country one dollar, one stance at a time

Alcatraz, 1969

Beginning in 1969, 89 American Indians known as the Indians of All Tribes took over Alcatraz. This occupation of Alcatraz was in direct in protest of the American government’s breaking of the Treaty of Fort Laramie, which promised Native Americans the right to federal land that was no longer in use. This land was no longer in use but the federal government had no intention of handing it over. This occupation would last 19 months, ending in 1971, when the US government forced them out through different tactics. Some sources claim that this occupation was the true birthplace of the Red Power Movement. 

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April 29th 1868: Fort Laramie Treaty signed

On this day in 1868, the Fort Laramie Treaty was signed by the United States government and representatives of the Sioux Nation. The treaty officially recognised the sacred Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming as part of the Great Sioux Reservation, and set the land aside for the exclusive use of its indigenous inhabitants. During the nineteenth century, spurred by the overcrowding of Eastern states and by the providential mission of ‘Manifest Destiny’, Americans increasingly sought to expand westward. As settlers encroached on Native American land, violence became an integral part of life on the frontier. A congressional committee report in 1867 encouraged the establishment of an Indian Peace Commission, with the intention of ending the conflict. The U.S. government sought to make treaties with Native Americans which would force them to give up their land and move onto western reservations. One such treaty was made in Fort Laramie, Wyoming, in 1868. However, the U.S. soon sent General George Custer to the Black Hills in 1874 in search of gold mines. Once gold was discovered, prospectors descended on the area, and the army began to confront the Sioux. In 1876, Custer’s army at the Little Bighorn river was annihilated by Sioux and Cheyenne fighters. Despite this devastating loss, the war continued, and in 1877 the United States confiscated the Black Hills. The Sioux people continued to protest the illegal seizure of their ancestral land. They won a significant legal victory in 1980, when the Supreme Court ordered financial compensation for the loss of the land; the Sioux, however, refused payment and continued to demand the return of their land.

“From this day forward all war between the parties to this agreement shall for ever cease. The government of the United States desires peace, and its honor is hereby pledged to keep it.”
- Article I of the Fort Laramie Treaty, 1868

Today in history: November 20, 1969 - Indians of All Tribes (IAT) begins occupation of Alcatraz Island, demanding that the abandoned site of the infamous closed prison be turned over to Native people. 

The Alcatraz Occupation lasted for nineteen months, from November 20, 1969, to June 11, 1971, and was forcibly ended by the U.S. government. According to the IAT, the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868) between the U.S. and the Sioux returned all retired, abandoned or out-of-use federal land to the Native people from whom it was acquired. Alcatraz penitentiary closed on March 21, 1963, and the island was declared surplus federal property in 1964. 

After a 1969 fire destroyed a San Francisco Indian center and Interior Secretary Walter J. Hickel offered to turn Alcatraz into a national park, the protesters mobilized. The occupiers wanted to transform the island into a center for Native American Studies, an American Indian spiritual center, an ecology center, and an American Indian Museum. The Occupation attained international attention for the situation of Indigenous peoples in the United States, and inspired a wave of militant activism among Native Americans.

Via Freedom Road Socialist Organization (Fight Back!)

Honoring Black Elk – Holy Man & Lakota Visionary
Name: Heȟáka Sápa
Birthdate/Place: December 1, 1863 – Little Powder River, Wyoming
Death date/Place: August 19, 1950 – Pine Ridge, South Dakota
Best known for: A witness to plains history, he was three years old when the Fetterman Battle, took place in 1866; five years old during the signing of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty and about 12 years of age when the Battle of the Little Big Horn was fought.