Signing the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie, commemoration 150 years later

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FORT LARAMIE, Wyo. 150 years ago today, a treaty was signed with the purpose of bringing peace between the white and Sioux cultures which would agree to allow the Sioux tribe to settle within the Black Hills Reservation.

According to the tribes, the treaty was not followed as it was signed.

“We care about this land,” said the Chief from the Lokota Tribe. “We care about our properties. We care about the lands that our ancestors walked on and took care of.”

From the loss of land, hunting rights and even their way of life, the chiefs from the Lokota, Arapahoe, Cheyenne and Crow nations says they will not continue to lose anymore.

“We can’t go through there,” said the Chief from the Arapahoe Tribe. “We have to have a permit. That’s not our laws. This is our land. We should be able to ride anywhere we want.”

The head leaders of each tribe said their ancestors were forced to sign the treaty which they didn’t understand due to the complex writing and received nothing but broken promises.

“They were promised things like farming equipment, to be farmers, doctors, and receive education,” explained Maryann Neubert, Museum Curator. “Basically, the treaty was trying to assimilate these people into white culture.”

As of this year of 2018, 150 years after the original treaty was signed in 1868, it is still being challenged over the legal ownership of the Black Hills and the surrounding lands. It is one of the top 100 documents in U.S. history.

“We’ve had meetings with tribal nations throughout the past two years and one thing that they bring up constantly is that they are still here and they are alive nations,” explained Neubert. “No matter what the 1868 Treaty or the subsequent treaties said or did, they are still here and they are not going anywhere.”

From generation to generation, the children of the tribes’ mission is to keep their culture thriving and not allowing any change from what their ancestors built.

“For as long as our children are growing and their children grow and their children grow, our culture lives on,” explained the Chief from the Cheyenne Tribe. “Our people live on and we will still be here.”
Each tribe says they will continue to fight until they get back what they have lost.

If you missed the event today, Fort Laramie National Historic Site will continue the history and commemoration period until Tuesday, November 6th.