The Lakota Sioux still claim their ancestral home of the Black Hills. The Anglos drove them out, violating solemn treaties, because they found gold and silver there. In United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians, SCOTUS ruled that the government illegally took the Black Hills, so, it ordered the government to pay the Sioux the initial offering price plus interest. The Lakota refused the settlement; they wanted the Black Hills back. The money remains in an interest-bearing account, but the Lakota refuse the money. They believe that accepting the settlement would allow the government to justify taking ownership of the Black Hills. In 2012, UN Special Rapporteur James Anaya conducted a tour of Native American lands, to determine how the USA implements the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, endorsed by the Obama administration in 2010. Anaya met with Native Americans, besides members of the Obama administration and the US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Tentatively, Anaya recommended the return of lands to some nations, including the Black Hills to the Sioux. Earth to Anglos! Ȟe Sápa is sacred land to the Lakota and to the Cheyenne, too.
The First Nations were here first and they remain distinct nations in the European sense… independent cultures with their own languages, Weltanschauung, and civilisational basis. They are NOT Westerners, nor should we treat them as such. Yet, they do form a group within the larger American society… “American Indians”… with a common history of a rather sordid relationship with Anglo power (and of an equally long resistance to that power). I speak from long correspondence with members of the Tlingit, Inuit, Mohawk, and Lakota peoples. Yes, VERY distinct cultures, yet very similar in their history of relationship with the “dominant” Anglos.
There are large “peoples” such as the Russians and the Chinese… there are small peoples such as the Lakota, Sorbs, and Karens… there are middling groups such as the Magyars, Finns, and Sikhs. Yet, all are cultures in the fullest sense of the word. All are “families”… that’s why I’m loath to speak of any other group other than my own. To really speak of a group requires an “inside” voice… outsiders can learn “of” a culture, but can never quite “become” that culture. Some things are only expressible by a family member. To really speak of the Black Hills… that would require a Lakota or Cheyenne voice… I don’t have that. I did my best…