(By Garnet1654 from information provided by Fire on the Prairie)
The originial "Mitigation
Seven" on the morning of March 23, 1999, the day after the camp
was established on La Framboise Island on the Missouri River, just south
of Pierre, South Dakota. La Framboise Island, a wooded remnant similar
to much of the wetlands that bordered the Missouri River before it was
channelized and turned into a series of reservoirs by the Pick-Sloan
dam project that took large areas of land belonging to native peoples
in North and South Dakota. Much of the land was flooded by the dams,
and many native sites and burials have been destroyed by the flooding
and by the erosion along the banks of the Missouri.
to right are Robert Quiver, Jr., Clint Yellow Bird, Tom Cheyenne, Richard Shangreaux, Danny Merrival, Charles Yellow
Bird, and Loren Black Elk. Their sign reads "The 200,000 acres belongs to the Teton Nation."
On March 22, 1999, the First Fire of the
Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council
Fires) Camp was established on the Missouri River just south of Pierre, South Dakota.
Established by seven young Oglala warriors,
Oceti Sakowin has grown from
their single tipi to a six tipi village manned by several Sioux tribes. Their presence expresses the Sioux Nation's
rights to land along the Missouri River, rights guaranteed by the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868.
The Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1868 recognized
Lakota ownership of the Missouri River and millions of acres to the West. Less than a decade later, the US government
violated treaty rights and took most of that land, forcing the Lakota onto reservations. Five reservations lie
along the river.
In the 1950s, the US Army Corps of Engineers
[A.C.E.] built five huge Missouri River dams on the best reservation lands.
"They built the dams just above the
white town," says Wounded Knee tribal councilman Emmett Kelly. "They flooded the Indian towns and grave
sites with reservoirs."
In 1996, US Senate minority leader Tom
Daschle (Democrat/S.D.) invited South Dakota's Governor William Janklow (Republican) and several Sioux tribal chairmen
to Washington, DC. There, they began negotiations with government officials to transfer excess A.C.E. lands back
to the Sioux Nation and South Dakota. The result: The Wildlife Restoration
Act, which would return some lands to the Lakota but give South Dakota the recreation sites developed inside reservation
The Standing Rock, Oglala, Rosebud, Crow
Creek, and Yankton Sioux Tribes, and the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Councils, are calling for Congressional
oversight hearings to amend Title VI and prevent the transfer of Sioux treaty lands to the state of South Dakota.
They also request a comprehensive EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) before the US Army Corps of Engineers transfers
Missouri River lands to the state.
Reinstating the Great Sioux Nation's treaty
lands is the ultimate goal of protesters on LaFramboise Island. Lakota spiritual leader Rick Two Dogs emphasizes
the spiritual nature of Oceti Sakowin.
"We don't have a word for 'political'
in the Lakota language," he says. "Everything we do is with prayer."