Six years later, in 1874, General George Armstrong Custer took an expedition into the Black Hills which included a geologist and numerous miners. What they found immediately caused a major gold rush and the white settlers and miners began pouring into the Black Hills. The treaties were completely ignored.
In 1876, the Indian Appropriations Act demanded the Sioux give back the Black Hills or starve under siege. Then they ordered the destruction of all the buffalo herds. By 1889, the Federal Government had forced the Lakota into prisoner of war camps which they now call Reservations. According to government documents, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is prisoner of war camp #344.
Around 1990, I rode 7 years with many young people to the Crazy Horse Monument. When we crossed our so-called homelands, we were stopped by the white landowners because we didn't have their permission. One old homesteader showed us his deed showing where he had bought the land from the Federal Government. He told us that if we didn't like it, we should go talk to the Federal Government who got it from the Louisiana Purchase.
So, we lost our Black Hills. Some said we sold them. If so, I believe somebody took the money without any of us Lakota, Dakota, Nakota, Cheyenne or Arikara knowing it. There is no money.
In 1980, the United States Supreme Court said the Black Hills did rightfully belong to the Lakota. They wanted to buy them from us but our People have refused that money. The sacred Black Hills are not for sale.
But that's why the Bradley Bill was introduced in 1987 in Congress, to make it look good. It supposedly would have let us live in the Black Hills while the Federal Government could still mine, trespass, and do whatever they wanted. But even that was never approved.
So, saying the Black Hills are ours and belong to us are just hollow, empty words. If they are really ours, why can't we live there? It's only occupied by white people with land deeds.
We cannot even go to the Black Hills and exercise our spiritual ways. We are forbidden. We have to get permission from the Government and the BLM and then we have to follow their rules and regulations. But if we are a sovereign nation like they said, we would have our own jurisdiction (county-state-reservation).