Deep Tradition Rooted in the Black Hills
The Native American Indians and the white settlers that eventually kicked the Indians off their lands quite obviously did not share the same idea of what it meant to own an area of land. The Native Americans viewed the land that they lived on as sacred, spiritual, even religious. The white settlers who forced them away from their homes, however, did not have this same concept of the land that they chose to live on; these people viewed land as a way to make money or as another pillar of their personal wealth. There are multiple accounts of Native Americans expressing their confusion and dislike of the fact that the white settlers were willing to both buy and sell land. In a quote from Crazy Horse, whose Native name is Tashunka Witko, this sentiment is expressed quite thoroughly: “One does not sell the earth upon which the people walk” (Brown 274). Though the United States government initially attempted to acquire the lands by means of compensation and treaty (by an offer to purchase the mineral right for the Black Hills or simply purchase the land that made up the area), we find again that the white settlers used force to take what was not theirs for their own prosperity, which would be found in the gold and minerals that were located in the Black Hills. The arrival of General Custer and his army to the Black Hills (1874), in which it was formally announced that gold had been discovered in the area, was the first time that the Lakotas had even encountered intruders on their land. Eventually, the United States government, on February 28, 1877, passed a Congressional Act which officially claimed and removed the Black Hills from the ownership of the Native American Lakotas. What the white settlers that power-grabbed these lands from the Native Americans did not take into account is that by taking their land, they were also taking pieces of their ancestral and mythical history.
Many Native American tribes, like the...
Bibliography: Brown, Dee Alexander., and Hampton Sides. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: an Indian History of the American West. New York: Picador, 2007.
Hendrix, Burke A. “Memory in Native American Land Claims.”Political Theory , Vol. 33, No. 6 (Dec., 2005), pp. 763-785. Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Sundstrom, Linea. “Mirror of Heaven: Cross-Cultural Transference of the Sacred Geography of the Black Hills.” World Archaeology , Vol. 28, No. 2, Sacred Geography (Oct., 1996), pp. 177-189. Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
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