If we do still own the Black Hills, we need a new treaty, to renegotiate a new treaty. All the other treaties were violated or abandoned, often with the approval of Congress, without us knowing about it. That's not supposed to happen in nation to nation dealings.
We have a treaty council, a council of elders, all kinds of councils but none of them are effective. The government and state have kept us hungry and distracted with their projects which accomplish very little.
Every other foreign nation conquered by the United States has received huge efforts towards rehabilitation and rebuilding. Yet, while the U.S. cries about 20% unemployment, we have 80% unemployment. We remain isolated and have living conditions which are as bad as or worse than any "third world country." Our life expectancy is only 48 years old for men and 52 years old for women.
We are the longest prisoners of war in the world's history. It must change. We need to be set free so we can deal with our own people and our children and their children.
Unfortunately, most of our old people are in the spirit world. Today, our young people have no knowledge of the treaties, the massacre of Wounded Knee, the struggle of Wounded Knee 2, or our history. These are the reasons our culture is dying. No one remembers the language, culture, virtues, or spirituality. No one knows the real history.
But they need to know. If we are to survive, people need to understand. When we're talking about the Black Hills, it's not just the land that was lost but our way of life. It's not just money. Money is the least important thing. We have lost our way of life.
When we talk about the Black Hills, it is about everything. That place is holy and sacred.
Ho he'cetu yelo, I have spoken these words.