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View Diary: 80% Unemployment, my brothers and sisters are dying. (175 comments)

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  •  Everyone doesnt know the history. (14+ / 0-)

    The reporter stated at one point that "everyone knows the history"...which is untrue.  The Lakota are unique. By virtue of living at the geographical center of North America, and because their allies The Cheyenne suffered terrible massacres and saught refuge with The Lakota, they new what was headed there way with European invasion.  They succesfully defended their homeland as the U.S. tried to cross the Powder River country with a railroad to service the gold mines of Montana.  We signed a treaty in 1868 that granted clear legal title under our legal system to all of western South Dakota, and access for hunting to a much broader area of land.  Then we found gold in the Black Hills, and we set out to remove title, and did so with a war that included a scorched earth policy instituted by General Sherman (famous for burning his way through the South during the Civil War) that included the destruction of the massive buffalo heards that were the basis of the Lakota economy. So in spite of success on the field of battle, The Lakota ultimately were defeated economically because they could no longer feed themselves living their traditional life.

    Today, if you just Google "poorest counties in the U.S." you will get a list of counties by per capita income.  Eight of those counties are Indian reservations...fully 6 of those 10 are reservations of one tribe: The Lakota.  Per capita income is $6,700.oo per year.  Male life expectancy on Pine Ridge is less than Haiti.  

    In that original 1868 treaty, the opening lines state "The U.S. government desires peace and hereby pledges its honor to keep it". We betrayed our own honor. In the 1970s, THe Supreme Court recognized that the treaty was violated, and a settlement was offered that was ridiculously small, and The Lakota still refuse to accept it, waiting for the return of their land. Meanwhile billions of dollars have been removed from the Black Hills in gold, timber and tourism dollars, not to mention agricultural revenue froimn the rest of the treaty territories.

    What do they do in return?  Do they strap bombs on themselves and walk into shopping malls? No.  They join the U.S. military at a higher rate than any other population group, and the first thing they do at all of their ceremonies is a flag honoring song for the U.S. flag, and they honor their veterans. Any American should hang their head in shame when they stand in front of a Lakota.

    Oh, and what else do they do? Their young people take their own lives.            

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