Treaties of Fort Laramie
Treaty of Fort Laramie 1868
Lakotah Sioux Chief Red Cloud, fed up with the US policy of “treaties” to approve their agenda without living up to their end of the bargain, famously stated: “I have listened patiently to the promises of the Great Father, but his memory is short. I am now done with him. This is all I have to say”
In 1866, the Sioux, under Red Cloud, promised resistance to US soldiers and miners in the Powder River Country of Wyoming, after failed negotiations by the US attempting to establish forts and settlements for gold mining in the area. The Sioux were fast to remember the US’ failure to respect the previous Laramie Treaty of 1851, and the force of 1300 men brought to the Council tipped the US’ hand that the current treaty had the intent of fortifying the Powder River area for permanent annexation by the United States.
The US fought against the Sioux in the Powder River Country for two years, who were attacking wood trains, supply lines, and over-running attack parties on a few occasions. In 1868, the US decided it was not feasible to run a railroad through the areas in conflict, and instead moved the transcontinental railroad south. In doing so, they reconvened another Council at Fort Laramie – this time Red Cloud refused to join the council until the forts in the Powder River Country were abandoned, which they were late in 1868… The US admitted defeat in the invasion of sovereign Sioux territory. The council led to the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty, which established lasting peace on the “honour of the United States”, boundaries of a Sioux nation state – described as the Great Sioux reservation, which set aside the Western half of current day South Dakota, with hunting grounds as shown in the map (the area currently claimed by Republic of Lakotah) – the full text is below.
The treaty allowed for citizenship, should certain Sioux decide to settle into agriculture – but allowed for the stipulation of continued sovereignty of Sioux land, including the Black Hills, with no settlement by whites. This treaty clearly defines land that belongs to a culture, a people, the Sioux. Based on the stipulations set forth by this treaty, the Sioux would operate their lands without interference by the United States Government – a sovereign nation (which all states originate as).
By 1872, President Grant was getting pressure to illegally harvest timber from the Black Hills for increased demand due to Western Settlements, and by 1873 word of Gold Reserves spread throughout the US, sparking an illegal gold rush in the Black Hills. The Custer Expedition was sent to protect the Black Hills from gold miners, until an order (as noted in the 1980 SCOTUS account of the events) from Grant to remove military protection in order to enrage the Indians into war – which the Sioux were ready to fight, stating that their removal would be only at their annihilation… an eerily prophetic claim. The US’ attempts at persuading the Sioux to cede more land failed time and again – leading to the breaking of the treaty (unofficially) – or as the US put it “to whoop them [Sioux] into submission”. This led to the Great Sioux War of 1876-1877, including Little Big Horn (Custer’s Last Stand), and ending with the murder of Crazy Horse by the US.
In 1877, according to the 1980 SCOTUS, further land was taken by the Sioux in violation of the treaties – land including the Black Hills.
The final Sioux resistance occurred in 1890, when Congress broke the remaining Sioux Reservation to approximately the reservations in existence today. The further theft of the land sparked the Wounded Knee Massacre, the last major conflict between the Oglala Sioux and the US.
Based on the treaties signed, and the recognition of sovereign land ownership by the 1980 SCOTUS, there is a clear legal standing to sue for the return of, at least, the land specified as the Great Sioux Reservation – excluding the unceded hunting grounds. The Lakotah, in refusing the payment for land taken illegally under claim of eminent domain (as historically rejected by SCOTUS 1980), may have the standing to sue the US government for the western portion of South Dakota – in which they can live under sovereign powers.
Subsequent posts will emphasize the importance of the Republic of Lakotah, and why every Sioux and freedom loving libertarian should support this endeavor.
FORT LARAMIE TREATY
APRIL 29, 1868
TREATY WITH THE SIOUX– BRUL