Reflections and wisdom found in the papers of Chief Richard Grass – Charging Bear – Even more true in 2013 when this was posted on this web site after the following was found among his papers 4 days after the release of his soul ceremony (though this was written in the 1980s)

To Whom It May Concern:

We as enrolled members of these Sioux Nations are living out of these boundaries of these Reservations they claim. But let’s look at the 1980 Supreme Court ruling wherein the United States Government illegally earmarked the taking of our Black Hills, which, of course we as Indians knew from generation to generation, that the outer 5 state region continues to truthfully and legally belong to the Great Sioux Nation.

The 1868 Treaty was actually a Peace Treaty, not a land cessions treaty.

Also, the Treaty states that in order to revise or amend the Treaty, you had to have ¾ Sioux Male population vote. And I haven’t seen ¾ Sioux Male population vote for anything even since their supposedly being made “citizens” of these United States either –

So, as it stands [in reality – not by the lies imposed upon us] we are still a Sovereign Nation.

We may be living outside of these reservations now, but also the United States Government created this – as there are no jobs on these reservations – as if there was a little money like federal funds pumped into these reservations. Then the tail end of the BIA system, the IRA government gobbles it up so it disappears at the IRA level. Like whatever the little money that’s earmarked for these reservation Indians that the BIA doesn’t want, then the IRA government takes it and it ends up there?

So you have two systems that work back to back [on our behalf, these days] – fraud and mismanagement, most all of it corruption. That is what we have experienced as a living people on and off the reservations since the IRA government was implemented in 1934.

So, let’s say what’s good for the Gander is also good for the Goose? What the people voted for when they “voted” for the IRA government without knowing it was corruption on these reservations. [And again, this “voting” done was not anywhere near ¾ Sioux Male population as stipulated in our Peace Treaty Agreement]

So if the Poles and Germans can do it, so can the Sioux People – just change the system.

Get rid of the BIA and IRA and work again within our spiritual traditional ways of sovereignty like it has been meant to be since the beginning. As the “pipe” (sacred canunpa) was handed down from generation to generation, our headmen and elders continued through family lines and kinship relationships with the women holding the place of honor by having the final say in all tribal decisions and functions; and our ceremonies and traditional spiritual ways of governance were handed down orally (for we had no written alphabet); and thus we functioned effectively and in harmony with the lands upon which we made our home and all our relatives from the natural world had an honored place of kinship relationship along with us (two leggeds, four leggeds, winged ones, crawling ones, finned, etc…) – and passed down within our ways of honoring and living life – there was balance, harmony, abundance, peace upon our sacred lands, from time immemorial.

Also, the Treaty was initiated, negotiated and “signed” by these traditional spiritual ways of sovereignty by those designated and understood to be Chiefs, Elders from each family line of descent as appointed by these ways. Though our wise ones who prayerfully proceeded with these negotiations had no “education” in the ways of the white man’s world – and there was a language barrier during these negotiations, our representatives were clear headed long thinkers who had the presence of mind to remember all the many things the white men had said and done. Our representatives were also very articulate, and the intent of all the words they said and signed was this:

“This land is not for sale and never will be for sale.”

Many talk about Democracy, but the Democratic way is for homeless immigrants with nothing in their pockets to call their own, ones who fled from oppressed governments like us Indians. We are still living out here on the original boundaries of the Great Sioux Nation.

Yes, we are living here under the State Government imposed upon us, who, until this day still rejects us as a sovereign nation along with the County Governments and City Governments who ignore our traditional spiritual ways of sovereignty. These ways of the imposed government and their ways of “thinking” imposed upon us through their education of our young ones, also infiltrates what remains of the heart of our nation. So, our people are lost, divided in heart, mind and spirit as they attempt to bridge the ways of the ancestors with the current illogical and dysfunctional system of things put upon us by no intention of our traditional spiritual ancestors who signed the Peace Treaty.

Like I have said time and time again, the “wealth” extracted from our sacred lands by these imposed forms of “government” are and always have been ours. (Today, this “wealth” is no longer referred to as our relatives, just as our wise Grandmothers taught us in the ways of kinship relative, but now this wealth is thought of and called only “resources”. And these “resources” have been stripped not only from our lands, our peoples, our kinship relationships, but this robbery continually destroys the very balance, harmony and life force needed for the continuation of life. It is also outright thievery!

So, our position has and always will be regarding the U.S. 1980s “settlement” issue of $40,000, 000 [which amount has now increased dramatically by interest as it continues to be held “in trust” in 2013] – for our land holdings in the states of Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota is – NO.

We would appreciate restitution for all which the United States Government has let the big corporations exploit and extort from our lands the coal, gas, oil, timber, minerals, wildlife habitat and loss in all these states. They continue to blatantly rape our lands with no concern for our sovereign traditional spiritual ways, nor the ongoing life and environmental requirements and concerns of our Mother Earth.

They have contaminated our water in streams above and below ground throughout these territories [and now beyond the strip mining the crimes upon our waters increase with the dangerous fraking processes now operating in oil fields being established on our lands. As a sovereign nation we have the international right to sue Corporations and the United States government for these travesties. Also, I want to state that the Indian population here in Rapid City is the second largest in the state of South Dakota – yet we are left out of the mainstream in the voting processes imposed upon us in the reservations. Without the change, amendment or revision of the reservations constitutions to include the Indian populations in these urban areas, any true “representation” of Indians in any and all “legislation” taking place on the reservations is truthfully non-existent and another hoax imposed upon us without our consent or agreement.

As it is, all these reservations use our “names” and we have land interests too, upon these reservations with which the “established” imposed governments upon these reservations which they use as a land base to get federal funds. We never see a penny of it. If you don’t call that fraud or mismanagement then there are no such words in the English dictionary.

As a sovereign nation, all along, according to International Law, we hold the right to set up our own reservations, manage our own lands throughout all our territories. Also, we do legally hold the sovereign right to set up our own mining companies next to the Homestake Mining Company, lumber companies, etc. which we could have done long ago with foreign investors and support all along. However, our traditional spiritual elders continually have chosen the ways of Peace rather than enforce our rights. It has pained us for a long time to know these truths of international law and human decency while we stand and watch our lands thus being destroyed and exploited with no help for our people from those who continue to rob defraud us and the sacred lands of our home.

Also, with this” Indian Self Determination Act”, you bet it’s about time we Indians start utilizing our own resources. What this actually boils down to is if there are federal funds that will be earmarked for these reservations, then we should be able to utilize our share here in Rapid City as a lot of Indians relentlessly continue to “live” without jobs, food and housing – and we have a right to live too.

Where is the Human Rights the U.S. Government is always talking about – and where is our freedom?

Last of all, don’t forget all this Public Land is actually Indian Property and all the “resources” that these lands generate that keep the State of South Dakota funded, by all right and title these are property and “resources” of our LDN nation. These are, and always have been, in truth, our “resources”.

So, this is [has been] our stand on Dockets 74A and 74B. I am also questioning this United States “Government” – is it part communism? I have seen nothing but separation of “powers” – while one side steals, the other side prays…

Also, I want to stress the fact that there are a lot of groups saying they “represent Indians” and they get federal funds, 501c status for “non-profit” corporations [note: these are corporations, NOT traditional spiritual representatives of our sovereign nation]. They get funding and yet, to date, never really help the poor Indian in the way they say they would in their sales pitch proposals. [Granted, truckloads of unwanted clothing continually reach the reservations – but how many Indians find any worth or any practical use for worn out high heeled shoes and worn out designer clothing. These don’t keep our children and Grandmothers feeling safe and secure, their houses warm in winter, nor their tummies full.]

So, from now on check their enrollment numbers, and their way of living. Do they truly honor the traditional spiritual values of kinship relationship, respect, honor, fortitude, truthfulness, decency? Do their ways of living reflect our Lakota values? Also, check into the names and tribal reputations of these people they claim to represent, also head count.

On behalf of the forgotten Sioux [Lakota Dakota Nakota Nation] – we are at a loss to know, aside from ourselves, and the tried and proven ways of kinship relationship we learned from our Grandmothers and Elders of those few who still remain and walk in the spiritual traditional ways – if there is anyone left to “trust”.


Richard Deo Grass – Charging Bear