Cankú Lúta (Red Road, Inc.)
Cankú Lúta,  a national 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded by Tokalas, is committed to education, service, and preservation of American Indian Culture.


Treaty People Gather to Reclaim Lands

Since the end of March, Lakota Treaty People have been gathering on La Framboise Island on the Missouri River to demand the return of lands that belong to them under the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. The land in question is 200,000 acres along the Missouri that was taken by the federal government four decades ago when several dams were built on that river. The land has been under the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers.

Article 2 of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 states:

The United States agrees that the following district of country, to wit, viz: commencing on the east bank of the Missouri River, where the forty-sixth parallel of north latitude crosses the same, thence along low-water mark down said east bank to a point opposite where the northern line of the State of Nebraska strikes the river, and along the northern line of Nebraska to the one hundred and fourth degree of longitude west from Greenwich, thence north on said meridian to a point where the forty-sxth parallel of north latitude intercepts the same, thence due east along said parallel to the place of beginning; and in addition thereto, all existing reservations of said river shall be, and the same is, set apart for the absolute and undisturbed use and occupation of the (Lakota Nation)...

This states that the treaty boundary extends to the east bank of the Missouri River. The Lakota Nation has a reserved treaty right to hunt, fish, and use the waters of the Missouri.

The South Dakota Mitigation Act, buried in 14,000 pages of the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 1999, gives this land to the state of South Dakota and to the Cheyenne River and Lower Brule Reservations. South Dakota would gain the land to use for hydro-electric power, wildlife and recreational development. In controlling the land on both sides of the Missouri River, the state would have jurisdiction over Indian fishing rights. The riverbanks also contain many indigenous gravesites and other remains, currently protected under federal legislation. South Dakota became a state in 1888 well after treaties were negotiated. NONE of this land ever belonged to the state of South Dakota and it is unacceptable that the federal government turn it over to the state. The land transfer to the state of South Dakota violates the treaty and threatens Indian rights.

History Lesson.  The Great Lakota Nation consists of the Lakota, Dakota, Nakota and Oakota Peoples. The 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty established as Lakota Country the entire upper great plains region. Article 5 of the 1851 Treaty set the boundaries as the Platte River on the south, the Big Horn Mountains on the west, the Yellowstone River on the northwest, and the Missouri River to the north and east. The Black Hills was (as today) the spiritual center for the people.

The treaty essentially prohibited non-Indians from entering the territories. As the United States continued its westward expansion, it sought to build the Bozeman Trail (known to indigenous peoples as the Thieves Trail), through the heart of Lakota Land. After several years of trying to take the land by force, the U.S. eventually begged for negotiations, resulting in the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. The United States had eagerly entered these treaties, and denominated the Missouri River and adjoining lands as Lakota lands, in order to free up territory for the westward movement of "white wrongdoers."

Nevertheless, the discovery of gold in the Black Hills led to further incursions by the cavalry, treaty violations and war, which ended with the defeat of Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876. The Lakota Tokalas were the last Indian people to submit to the reservation lifestyle and to the authority of the United States. During the 1880s, the U.S. Forestry Department was created and itself recognized unlawful settlers and goldminers as a state before it became South Dakota. Later, in 1889, Congress carved up the Great Lakota Reservation into six small reservations to gain the Black Hills for goldmining and to open up the Plains for homesteading. Through the U.S. Forestry Department, the government further stole land for national forests and parks. From the beginning of treaty negotiations to 1909, the landholdings of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapahoe Nations were reduced from seven states to 5.3 million acres.

In 1979, the United State Court of Claims referred to the conduct of the United States in passing acts that violated treaties as the "most rank and dishonorable dealings in our nation’s history." The Lakota Nation still legally claims title to the land and water included in the boundaries described in Article 2 of the 1868 Treaty. This includes land to be transferred illegally to the state of South Dakota under the South Dakota Mitigation Act.




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