Black Hills History at Eighth Circuit Judicial Conference

This morning’s panel, “American Indain Law: The History and Litigation over the Black Hills and Recent Decisions,” was moderated by the Honorable Leo Brisbois, U.S. Magistrate Judge, District of Minnesota, and included two presenters: Stacy Leeds, Professor of Law at Arizona State University, and the CAIRNS director. This year’s Judicial Conference, “Black Hills and the Law: Past, Present, and Future,” was held July 12-15 at Rapid City, South Dakota. The CAIRNS director’s presentation began with the official minute-long teaser from the brand new documentary, “Lakota Nation vs. United States,” that premiered last month at the Tribeca Film Festival. The presentation, “History of the Black Hills from a Lakotan Perspective,” focused on the lands stipulated in the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty, the signatories to that treaty, and the taking of huge areas of the Treaty land in 1877, 1889, and 1912. In closing, the CAIRNS director reiterated the long-standing assertion that “the Black Hills are NOT for sale” and the recent “Land Back” initiative. Then he proposed another one: “Rent is Due,” arguing that since the 1980 SCOTUS decision awarded over $110 million to the “Sioux Nation of Indians”—but not a penny of that amount has been paid—then that money should be figured as a downpayment on the outstanding rent for the 146-year use of the land and resources, and that a rent payment is due next year and every year afterwards. Most importantly, these are rent payments and NOT purchase payments. The photo above was taken from his panel seat as conference attendees were entering the room.