By Ernestine Chasing Hawk, Native Sun News Managing Editor
RAPID CITY — When Attorney Mario Gonzalez was asked why S.D. Congressional leaders have said the “Black Hills Claim” issue is moot because it has already been settled he replied, “It’s not settled – until we say it’s settled.”
In 2008, during a campaign stop in Sioux Falls then Sen. Barak Obama gave Great Plains Indian tribes a ray of hope on the outcome of the century’s long legal battle over “theft of 48 million acres of their homeland.”
“Barack Obama is a strong believer in tribal sovereignty. He does not believe courts or the federal government should force Sioux tribes to take settlement money for the Black Hills. Obama would not be opposed to bringing together all the different parties through government-to-government negotiations to explore innovative solutions to this long-standing issue.”
However one of the key elements to resolving the issue is “bringing together all the different parties” and with each passing day their “window of opportunity” shrinks as time ticks away for the Obama-Biden administration.
A. Gay Kingman-Wapato, executive director of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association explained that shortly after Obama was elected, a meeting was held on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation where several chairmen brought forth tribal resolutions that dealt with how litigation on dockets 74-A and 74-B should proceed.
Because tribes need to come to a consensus and present a unified voice before the Obama administration, the GPTCA formed the Great Sioux Nation He Sapa Reparation Alliance whose role will be to “facilitate” the creation of a “Plan of Action – Position Paper” to hold the United States Government accountable for its violations of the 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty.
It was decided that the alliance must proceed in a spiritual way and have their first meeting where the Sacred Bundle brought by Pte San Win (the White Buffalo Calf Woman) is kept.