RECONCILIATION THROUGH EDUCATION
RECONCILIATION THROUGH EDUCATION
Pictured above: Tribal leaders and US officials, including General William Tecumseh Sherman, gather at Fort Laramie, Wyoming in 1868 for treaty negotiations. Image credits to the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
On this day in 1868, the Fort Laramie Treaty was signed. Today, we acknowledge that this treaty (which recognized the Black Hills as part of the "Great Sioux Reservation" and intended for the exclusive use of the Lakota People) was later broken by the US Government.
Forged in the wake of massacres conducted by the US Army against Indigenous peoples, increased movement of settlers along the Bozeman Trail, and successful Native resistance during Red Cloud's War, the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 defined land boundaries for the Oceti Sakowin (Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota) as well as the Crow, Northern Arapaho and Northern Cheyenne, protecting the tribes' sovereignty over much of their traditional lands. However, the treaty also instituted several assimilationist policies on behalf of the US government, policies which contributed to a loss of cultural lifeways that continues to impact Native communities up to the present day.
When gold was discovered in the Black Hills in the 1870s, the US government reneged on the treaty, overtaking tribal land that had been protected under the 1868 articles and confining tribes to small reservations. In response to this violation of treaty terms, the tribes of the Oceti Sakowin entered into legal proceedings against the federal government in the early 20th century. The case culminated in a 1980 decision by the Supreme Court declaring the US seizure of the Black Hills illegal and offering tribes $100 million for the land. The tribes of the Oceti Sakowin have continually rejected this offer and have asserted that the sacred lands were never for sale.
Activists today continue to push the federal government to honor the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 and all treaties between tribal nations and the United States.
This post is a part of our Reconciliation through Education series. To learn more about this and other issues related to the Tipi Raisers mission, please email email@example.com to sign up for our newsletter.
Sources include: Resources from the National Museum of the American Indian, Indian Country Today, Smithsonian Magazine, and Wyoming PBS.
Seven years after the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Catholic Church apologizes for their role in the residential school system
Pictured above: Residential school survivors and Indigenous leaders stand in St. Peter's Square on Thursday, March 31st. Photo credits to the New York Times, Vincenzo Pinto/Agence France-Presse and Getty Images.
Last week, Pope Francis issued an apology for the role of members of the Catholic Church in perpetrating the abuse and forced assimilation of Indigenous children within Canada's residential school system.
A delegation of tribal leaders and residential school survivors from First Nations and Métis communities across Canada had traveled to Rome earlier in the week to share the pain of their experiences at the 139 residential schools that existed in the country into the late 20th century.
The apology comes seven years after the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which had been tasked with investigating and reporting on the depth of abuse faced by Indigenous children within the residential school system, had called for the Pope to apologize on behalf of the Catholic Church for the role of Catholic organizations in overseeing many of the schools. In the words he shared with the visiting First Nations delegation, Pope Francis condemned the abuse inflicted upon Native children and the ideological colonization faced by Indigenous communities past and present. He also expressed shame for the way Catholic institutions had harmed generations of First Nations Peoples through the residential school system, and emphasized the traditional Indigenous wisdom of considering the impact of one’s actions seven generations onward.
While some Native leaders declared the apology an important first step in the healing process, Native activists across North America/Turtle Island are also calling for more concrete actions from the Church towards reconciliation and a public conversation around the truth of the boarding school era in the United States, a country with an even longer history of Native boarding schools than that of Canada.
Several federal initiatives that would begin bringing this history to light are underway in the US: a report is set to be released later this month by the Department of the Interior following efforts by Sec. Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) to investigate graves at boarding school sites around the nation, and activists on Capitol Hill continue to lobby for the passage of two congressional bills aimed at investigating and reconciling the history of this era.
This post is a part of our Reconciliation through Education series. To learn more about this and other issues related to the Tipi Raisers mission, email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for our newsletter.
Sources include: Resources on this topic from Indian Country Today, Native News Online, NPR, CBC, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition.
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