Reunion of Warriors from the Battle of Little Big Horn; December 2nd, 1948.

In the lobby of the Rapid City, SD Library.
Gen. George Armstrong Custer, who led a two week expedition into the Black Hills in 1874, during which gold was discovered, did not survive the Battle of Little Big Horn two years later, on June 25th, 1876. Neither did the 200 men of the 7th Cavalry under his command.
But the Lakota’s claim to the Black Hills – Paha Sapa – their most sacred site – guaranteed by the Ft. Laramie Treaties in clear and simple language: “…no persons except those designated herein ( the Great Sioux Indian Nation ) … shall ever be permitted to pass over, settle upon, or reside in the territory described in this article” did not survive Custer’s brief midsummer visit of 1874, once gold was discovered along French Creek.
Gold rush fever struck – white prospectors came pouring into the Black Hills, and Congress soon passed an Act illegally taking the land they had promised to the Lakota in perpetuity. The gold rush soon ended when the claims played out, but the settlers stayed.
Court battles to the Supreme Court confirmed in 1980 that the Black Hills had been egregiously stolen. The Lakota have rejected monetary compensation ( a fund to settle the case has been earning interest since 1980 and is now worth more than $1.3 billion, but the Lakota want the Black Hills back.
Obama almost gave them the federal property in the Black Hills – the majority of the land on question – but he caved to pressure and failed to deliver. Will the Lakota see justice from the current administration or Congress. You tell me.

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