Hobby Lobby and reclaiming the Black Hills?

Life revealed. Rapid City, SD, the foothills of He Sapa. Photo by Tasiyagnunpa.

The following is a quick response to Madville Times’ pondering of the recent column by Ruth Hopkins for the Indian Country Media Network regarding conjecture at what the mess of the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision might mean for reclaiming the Black Hills by tribes.

The Black Hills isn’t just for the Oceti Sakowin Oyate (Great Sioux Nation). The Ft. Laramie Treaty named other plains tribes in it. This was always a war-free zone shared in good spirit with other tribes which we often were otherwise embattled with.

If the Black Hills were turned back over, it would need a new form of jurisdiction, because there is no singular Great Sioux Nation any longer. We are divided into 9 different reservations. Plus the other tribes.

The people working on treaty councils at the local level are hypocritical, conservative (Lakota version) and prattle about issues that sound more like Evangelical Christianity than anything that connects us to our stories and land.

Many bloggers like Ruth love to pull from this mess for their own purposes.

I used to consider myself a patriot of the Oceti Sakowin Oyate as a member of the OST. Moving back to a reservation made me realize how far we really are from being able to lead a jurisdiction in a democracy like America.

We are still fighting about lineage and blood quantums and in-tribe fighting and bickering. Until we clean up our own backyards and reservations, a huge undertaking that has been stacked against us by generations of government and personal greed, we can’t hope to thoughtfully and intellectually work our way through a jurisdiction full of non-tribal people, federal lands, etc.

Is the keeping of the Black Hills perfect right now? No. God no. I’m worried about uranium mining and so much else. However, I don’t want to see overlapping jurisdictions and fighting and lack of zoning that follows allow more land degradation.

This is the first time I’ve spoke out about this. I have had a short story published in He Sapa Woihanble, Black Hills Dream, which (not because of my small offering) is an awesome reference of Oceti Sakowin Oyate thought as well as inclusion of the treaty documents and more.

This is an issue that weighs deep in my heart, like other Lakota, but I also know that if I’m going to be a good relative and a good neighbor, the Black Hills jurisdictional issues is not the simple ‘return them’ rhetoric that many of us are hearing.

No matter President Obama’s good intentions or the religious rhetorical mess that is the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby contraception decision.

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