Giving Back to Wounded Knee Foundation

BROKEN TREATIES

"As long as the grass grows,
As long as the river flows,
We are still here
And we shall remain."

Article Six of the U.S. Constitution stipulates that "all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land."

It makes no distinction between treaties with foreign nations and with Indian tribes. Between 1778 and 1871 the United States negotiated approximately 800 treaties with various Indian tribes. The Senate, however, ratified fewer than 400, About one-third of these were peace treaties. Two-thirds were land cessions, of which many were root causes of armed conflicts.

INDIAN APPRORIATIONS ACT OF 1871

The Indian Appropriations Act of 1871 ended the practice of formal treaty-making but did not invalidate or impair obligations of previous treaties lawfully made and ratified. Few of those treaties, even when first made were observed for long, sometimes because many Indians who had signed them did not feel bound to abide by their provisions.

More often, Congress failed to appropriate enough money to meet treaty obligations. Broken promises caused peaceful Indians to mistrust U.S. policy and encouraged others in their armed resistance.

TREATIES

1778 - Treaty with the Delawares

1782 - Chickasaw Peace Treaty "Feeler"

1784 - Treaty with Six Nations

1785 - Treaty with Wyandot etc.

1785 - Treaty with the Cherokee

1786 - Treaty with the Chocktaw

1786 - Treaty with the Chickasaw

1786 - Treaty with the Shawnee

1789 - Treaty with the Wyandot, etc.

1789 - Treaty with the Six Nations

1790 - Treaty with the Creeks

1791 - Treaty with the Cherokee

1794 - Treaty with the Cherokiee

1794 - Treaty with the Six Nations

1794 - Treaty with the Oneida

1795 - Treaty of Greenville

1805 - Chickasaw Treaty

1816 - Treaty with the Chickasaw

1818 - "Secret" Journal on Negotiations of the Chickasaw Tribe

1818 - Treaty with the Chickasaw

1824 - Bureau of Indian Affairs was established within the Department of War

1826 - Refusal of the Chickasaw and Chocktaw to Cede Their Lands in Mississippi

1828 - Treaty with the Potawatami

1830 - Treaty with the Chickasaw, Unratified

1832 - Treaty with the Potawatami

1852 - Treaty with the Apache, July 01, 1852

1853 - Treaty with the Comanche, Kiowa, and Apache, July 27, 1853

1865 - Treaty with the Cheyenne and Arapaho, October 14, 1865

1865 - Treaty with the Apache, Cheyenne, and Arapaho, October 17, 1865

1867 - Treaty with the Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache, October 21, 1867

1867 - Treaty with Oglala Sioux Tribe at Ft. Laramie with the government.

1868 - Fort Laramie Treaty: States that the Tribe should have jurisdiction over all of the lands agreed upon in the area called The Great Sioux Reservation, including lands that were unlawfully taken when that the tribes still lay claim to. This would include all western South Dakota, northern Nebraska, and eastern Wyoming, as well as the Sacred Paha Sapa, (Black Hills). This area originally included 60 million contiguous acres.


When George Armstrong Custer went out in 1874 on The Black Hills Expedition with the United States Army in hopes of discovering gold, the land he found gold on was Sioux Land agreed upon by the United States Government in the Ft. Laramie Treaty of 1868. Once that discovery was made, miners began migrating there illegally. Under Presidential orders, no military action was to be made against the miner's occupation of the Sacred Black Hills. These orders were to be enforced "quietly and confidentially."


When the miners and settlers illegally occupying the sacred Black Hills became too numerous, the government decided to negotiate a "price" with the Sioux for the sale of the Black Hills. This failed because the Black Hills were considered to be sacred. The Sioux refused to sell the Black Hills. The U.S. declared the Sioux Indians "hostile", and resorted to military force in an expedition to remove the Sioux from the Black Hills. This included the encampment along the Little Bighorn River, which is better known in history as "Custer's Last Stand", or to us Indians, "Victory Day."

1877 - Congress passsed an act to make the 7.7 million acres of the Sacred Paha Sapa available for sale to private interests and homesteaders.

1889 - Congress divided the Great Sioux Reservation into six separate reservations with defined boundries. The Pine Ridge Reservation, with a land mass of of over 2 million acres, has only 84,000 acres that can actually support agricultural use. That made it hard to fulfill the purpose of the Dawes Act of 1887, which wanted to turn all Natives into farmers. The Lakota way of life, of hunting and providing for each individual person's own family, was gone.

1890 - Massacre at Wounded Knee (Refer to Historical Information page of the Massacre at Wounded Knee Creek).

1920 - American Women were given the right to vote.

1924 - Indians were made citizens of the United States by an act of Congress in 1924.

1934 - The Indian Reorganization Act "gave" Indian tribes the right to self-government.

 

Written Testimony of Mario Gonzalez
Attorney, Cheyenne River and
Pine Ridge Wounded Knee
Survivors'Associations
and Oglala Sioux tribe
from the September 25, 1990,
Senate Hearing

 

Red Cloud Native American Chief

Chief Hector, Assiniboin, 1928
Edward S. Curtis Photographer

Wolf Pack