Rick Williams: The Iniquitous History of the Fort Wise Treaty of 1861 - Colorado’s Efforts Toward Reconciliation
This presentation will provide the truth behind the theft of 53 million acres of land during a time when fraud within the Indian Bureau was nefarious. The details and background of the 1861 Treaty of Fort Wise with the Cheyenne and Arapaho people reveal one of the most sordid examples of fraud ever in Indian Country. The undisputable facts of corruption, collusion, conspiracy, nepotism, and cronyism are all included in the story of the removal of Indians from the Front Range and Eastern plains of Colorado.
Richard B. Williams, Lakota/Cheyenne Elder and Educator, has dedicated his career to empowering Native scholars. He served as the President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund for 15 years, from 1997 to 2012.
Rick Williams was the first Native scholar to graduate from the University of Nebraska Lincoln, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in 1975. Concurrently, he finished an independent study program at the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) in Boulder, Colorado, where he continued his work as a paralegal after graduation. In 1987, he completed a Master of Arts in educational administration at the University of Wyoming, Laramie.
Rick Williams has received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island for his work in Native education and the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Colorado Board of Regents and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in recognition of his dedicated service to American Indian students and their communities, among other accolades.
Although Rick is retired, he continues to serve as a consultant for the Johnson Scholarship Foundation and has created the “Truth, Restoration and Education Commission” to study the history of Indians in the State of Colorado.
This event is part of a yearlong series of events: “A Year of Reckoning and Reconciliation: Conversation, Learning, and Connecting.” To see the schedule visit go.unl.edu/gp2022
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[00:00:00.099](gentle uplifting music)
[00:00:08.730]Good evening, everybody.
[00:00:10.160]My name is Margaret Jacobs,
[00:00:11.840]and I'm the director of the Center
[00:00:13.320]for Great Plains Studies.
[00:00:15.350]The Center is located at the University of Nebraska,
[00:00:19.330]which is a land grant institution
[00:00:22.090]with campuses and programs on the past, present,
[00:00:25.650]and future homelands of the Pawnee, Ponca,
[00:00:28.780]Otoe Missouria, Omaha, Dakota, Lakota,
[00:00:32.630]Kaw, Cheyenne, and Arapaho peoples
[00:00:36.490]as well as those of the relocated Ho-Chunk,
[00:00:39.090]Sak and Fox, and Iowa peoples.
[00:00:42.650]We want to welcome you to the third event
[00:00:44.890]in the Center's series on Reckoning and Reconciliation
[00:00:48.690]on the Great Plains.
[00:00:50.700]This is a year-long series of events,
[00:00:53.530]and we'll be posting a link
[00:00:56.010]to our events in the chat.
[00:00:59.760]Before I introduce our esteemed speaker,
[00:01:02.580]I want to share a couple housekeeping details
[00:01:05.370]with all of you.
[00:01:06.660]First, if you happen to be having any technical
[00:01:09.710]difficulties, please let us know in the chat,
[00:01:13.250]and one of our Center staff will try to help you
[00:01:16.210]through the chat, or if that's not working,
[00:01:19.590]we'll also, I believe that one of our staff members,
[00:01:23.300]Dylan Wall, has posted a phone number in the chat
[00:01:26.250]that you can call if you need help.
[00:01:29.070]Second, during the talk, if you'd like to leave
[00:01:32.150]a question for our speaker, you can do that
[00:01:34.650]through the chat, or the Q&A buttons
[00:01:37.790]at the bottom of your Zoom screen,
[00:01:40.630]and we will try to get to all your questions
[00:01:42.990]at the end of the talk.
[00:01:45.430]Third, I just want to thank our many sponsors
[00:01:47.980]and partners who are listed here.
[00:01:50.470]And I want to express my gratitude
[00:01:52.240]to our Center staff members, Katie Nieland
[00:01:55.190]and Dylan Wall, who've been working really hard
[00:01:58.380]behind the scenes to bring this event
[00:02:00.540]and the entire series to you.
[00:02:03.620]And now, finally, I want to introduce our speaker.
[00:02:07.860]Richard Williams is a Lakota Cheyenne Elder
[00:02:10.900]and educator who has dedicated his career
[00:02:13.980]to empowering Native scholars.
[00:02:16.890]He has served as the president and CEO
[00:02:19.760]of the American Indian College Fund for 15 years
[00:02:23.400]from 1997 to 2012.
[00:02:27.210]And prior to that, he worked at the University
[00:02:29.260]of Colorado in Boulder for 17 years
[00:02:32.330]where he led several initiatives,
[00:02:34.540]including the American Indian Upward Bound Program,
[00:02:38.090]and served as director of Minority Affairs
[00:02:40.660]in the University Learning Center.
[00:02:43.470]Throughout his career, he has been intimately involved
[00:02:46.400]in the history of his people.
[00:02:48.640]Most notable was his work on the documentary
[00:02:50.977]"How the West Was Lost", where he served
[00:02:53.850]as a historical consultant.
[00:02:56.770]Mr. Williams was the first Native scholar
[00:02:59.010]to graduate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
[00:03:01.950]He received a bachelor of arts in 1975.
[00:03:06.160]Concurrently, he finished an independent study program
[00:03:09.430]at the Native American Rights Fund
[00:03:10.950]in Boulder, Colorado, where he continued
[00:03:13.490]his work as a paralegal after graduation.
[00:03:16.820]In 1987, he completed a master of arts
[00:03:19.900]in educational administration
[00:03:21.380]at the University of Wyoming in Laramie.
[00:03:24.290]And he's received the Distinguished Alumni Award
[00:03:26.950]from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
[00:03:29.360]in recognition of his dedicated service
[00:03:32.000]to American Indian students and their communities,
[00:03:34.640]among other, many other, accolades.
[00:03:38.190]Although Mr. Williams is now retired,
[00:03:40.580]he continues to serve as a consultant
[00:03:43.410]for the Johnson Scholarship Foundation,
[00:03:45.986]and he's created the Truth, Restoration,
[00:03:49.130]and Education Commission to study the history
[00:03:51.660]of Indians in the state of Colorado.
[00:03:54.590]We are extremely honored to have you
[00:03:57.600]with us tonight, Mr. Williams,
[00:03:59.110]and thank you so much for speaking with us.
[00:04:02.180]And now I'm gonna turn it over to you.
[00:04:07.813](speaking foreign language)
[00:04:16.633]It's a good day today.
[00:04:18.740]I'm excited about this opportunity,
[00:04:20.980]and I'm thrilled to be able to tell a story
[00:04:25.065]about what's happening.
[00:04:28.200]My grandmother's name was Louisa Star Nelson,
[00:04:30.980]and she was a wonderful storyteller.
[00:04:33.770]And I think that really started me off
[00:04:37.620]on a path of history, and learning about our people.
[00:04:40.830]I wanted to first start by acknowledging
[00:04:43.030]people as a graduate of the University of Nebraska,
[00:04:47.610]I go back to my undergraduate days,
[00:04:50.330]and I remember some people
[00:04:52.180]that really were making a difference
[00:04:54.320]to create an opportunity for American Indian people
[00:04:57.830]to come to the university, and be successful,
[00:05:00.470]and those were Dr. Paul Wilson
[00:05:02.550]from the English Department,
[00:05:04.040]Dr. Ralph Beehill from the History Department,
[00:05:06.900]Dr. Jim Gibson from the Anthropology Department,
[00:05:10.230]Dr. Webster Robins from the Education Department,
[00:05:13.420]Dr. Chuck Reasons from Political Science,
[00:05:16.300]and especially Charlie R. Shamble
[00:05:17.970]who was the Indian student counselor,
[00:05:19.560]who took care of us all on campus.
[00:05:24.610]Today I'm gonna tell you the story about Colorado,
[00:05:27.830]and one of the things that I want you to keep
[00:05:30.380]in the back of your mind
[00:05:31.400]is when you're listening to me talk,
[00:05:34.890]think about the question, why are there no
[00:05:38.390]Indian reservations in the front range,
[00:05:41.180]or on the Eastern Plains of Colorado,
[00:05:44.290]because you're gonna learn the reason why.
[00:05:49.060]I chose the title, The Iniquitous 1861
[00:05:52.380]Treaty of Fort Wise, mostly because
[00:05:55.570]when I looked at that word,
[00:05:58.812]of course the dictionary says
[00:06:02.010]it means grossly unfair, and morally wrong.
[00:06:07.300]But I also went and looked at the synonyms
[00:06:09.582]of iniquitous, and it's wicked, sinful, evil,
[00:06:13.550]immoral, improper, villainous, criminal,
[00:06:16.580]nefarious, vile, foul,
[00:06:20.660]fiendish, crooked, lawless,
[00:06:23.470]unprincipled, and dishonorable.
[00:06:25.580]All synonyms of that,
[00:06:27.787]and I think what I've learned
[00:06:30.800]through my work with the treaty,
[00:06:33.090]every one of those synonyms
[00:06:35.864]appear in the negotiations of the treaty
[00:06:40.077]and the implementation of the treaty.
[00:06:44.391]I'm gonna take us back in time,
[00:06:46.420]a while back, to be able to understand the context
[00:06:50.320]of what we are going,
[00:06:51.670]what we are discussing here.
[00:06:54.078]And I want us to go back to 1834.
[00:07:00.390]In 1834, Congress passed this act
[00:07:04.360]called the Indian Trade and Intercourse Act.
[00:07:07.930]And I'm gonna read to you what it says,
[00:07:09.610]because I think it's one of those things
[00:07:11.360]that isn't widely known,
[00:07:14.003]or understood in historical documents.
[00:07:20.950]It says, and I quote, "Being enacted by the Senate
[00:07:24.377]"and House of Representative of these United States
[00:07:26.377]"of American and Congress assemble,
[00:07:28.607]"that all of the United States west of the Mississippi
[00:07:32.107]"and not within the states of Missouri and Louisiana
[00:07:35.017]"or the territory of Arkansas, and also part
[00:07:38.757]"of the United States east of the Mississippi,
[00:07:41.167]"not within any state to which the Indian title
[00:07:43.887]"has not been extinguished for the purposes of this act
[00:07:48.057]"be taken and deemed to be Indian country."
[00:07:52.500]And I think that's extremely important
[00:07:56.620]when I put it in the context of the treaty.
[00:08:00.030]There's other provisions in there that restrict
[00:08:02.730]settlers from coming into Indian country,
[00:08:06.880]and if they come there to settle,
[00:08:09.710]they're supposed to be removed by the federal government
[00:08:11.980]and fined $500.
[00:08:14.410]If traders came into the territory,
[00:08:16.970]they needed a license.
[00:08:19.200]Military people could come through
[00:08:21.020]and they were allowed to build roads.
[00:08:24.210]So I think that helps us put into context
[00:08:27.610]the next part of this discussion.
[00:08:32.930]Could I have you bring the map up?
[00:08:37.070]And I want to explain this just a little bit,
[00:08:41.010]because when you look at the background for this,
[00:08:46.950]the 1851 treaty, it was pretty expansive.
[00:08:51.660]If you could imagine going from Casper, Wyoming
[00:08:55.940]south to almost the New Mexico border,
[00:09:00.120]you'll see that that was the western boundary of this.
[00:09:04.350]The northern boundary was the North Platte River,
[00:09:07.480]and the southern boundary was the South Platte River.
[00:09:12.490]And it doesn't show it accurately on this map,
[00:09:15.970]but that area in Nebraska,
[00:09:19.630]I guess maybe it does, because it does show,
[00:09:21.516]North Platte would have been the cut-off point,
[00:09:24.840]so that area of land in the Panhandle in Nebraska,
[00:09:28.020]in that south part, was part of this 1851 treaty,
[00:09:32.030]and this treaty was for the Cheyenne
[00:09:34.130]and the Arapaho.
[00:09:35.480]And I just wanted to have you guys get a good idea
[00:09:38.755]and take a look at that.
[00:09:41.290]And I may refer back to it again,
[00:09:43.700]and particularly, the area, if you look to Julesburg,
[00:09:48.850]you can barely see it, but the Platte River
[00:09:51.740]runs through the center of Denver,
[00:09:54.270]from the mountains to the center of Denver,
[00:09:56.500]out into all the way to North Platte,
[00:10:02.460]where it joins the North Platte River.
[00:10:04.240]And I think that's an area of land that we're gonna be
[00:10:06.410]talking about tonight as being at issue.
[00:10:13.890]In 1861, the commissioner of Indian Affairs
[00:10:17.720]was a guy by the name of Alfred B. Greenwood.
[00:10:25.220]Based on the conversations about what was happening
[00:10:28.760]in Colorado, and all of a sudden there's this influx
[00:10:31.940]of settlers who were there, and they're not
[00:10:34.449]supposed to be there, and gold has been discovered,
[00:10:38.230]and all of a sudden, there's a trickle of people
[00:10:41.030]coming through, and in one year, almost 100,000
[00:10:44.670]people crossed through Colorado,
[00:10:47.240]and many of them stayed, and so it's causing
[00:10:50.230]tremendous challenges with the Indian people living there.
[00:10:54.400]The miners are going in and mining gold, and trespassing.
[00:11:03.810]the people, the territorial governor,
[00:11:07.040]everybody who's saying we've got to do something
[00:11:09.810]about this, we've got to reduce the size
[00:11:12.530]of this reservation, and move these Indian people
[00:11:16.460]out of here, because we just can't,
[00:11:19.854]just occupation, rural occupation is not working.
[00:11:24.980]And so he goes out, and he sends out messengers
[00:11:29.040]to the tribes to come to Fort Wise
[00:11:31.470]for a discussion about the treaties,
[00:11:32.980]but he makes a mistake,
[00:11:34.100]a really interesting mistake,
[00:11:36.570]because he tells them ahead of time,
[00:11:38.520]we're gonna talk about peace,
[00:11:39.950]and we're gonna talk about you giving up your land.
[00:11:43.290]And that was a mistake because the minute
[00:11:50.480]the Cheyennes heard that,
[00:11:54.360]they immediately called a meeting
[00:11:57.530]of the Council of 44.
[00:12:00.623]And if you're not familiar with the Council of 44,
[00:12:03.550]that was the governing structure
[00:12:05.270]for the Cheyenne Nation, and you have 10 bands,
[00:12:11.800]10 bands within the Cheyenne Nation,
[00:12:13.750]and each one would have four representatives
[00:12:16.320]to the council, and then the other two of them,
[00:12:21.740]one was the sacred hat keeper,
[00:12:23.270]and the other one was a sacred keeper
[00:12:25.420]of the sacred arrows,
[00:12:28.299]and then of course, the chief that they elected,
[00:12:30.500]head chief, and one of the very unusual
[00:12:33.220]parts about this was the 44th member
[00:12:35.400]was always somebody from another tribe,
[00:12:38.300]in order to give them another outside perspective.
[00:12:41.000]And when you study the Council of 44,
[00:12:42.990]I think that it's probably a more sophisticated
[00:12:45.900]form of governance among the Plains tribe,
[00:12:49.622]and probably second only to the Iroquois Confederacy.
[00:12:54.360]So I think that's important to note
[00:12:56.400]about this particular thing.
[00:12:59.410]So Greenwood tries to set up this treaty meeting,
[00:13:02.770]and it's failing miserable.
[00:13:05.770]So he doesn't want to get slammed for this,
[00:13:07.750]so he disappears, and he points to this guy
[00:13:10.200]by the name of Culvert to come in and take over,
[00:13:15.160]and making sure that the treaty would take place.
[00:13:19.560]Well, Culvert came from Washington,
[00:13:22.580]and his primary duty was supposed to be
[00:13:24.270]watching over the trinkets,
[00:13:26.550]the annuities that were gonna be distributed.
[00:13:28.790]And all of a sudden he's thrust into a different role.
[00:13:31.560]Well, at the very same time,
[00:13:33.530]to add more confusion, William Gilpen,
[00:13:37.140]who's the governor, and also designated
[00:13:39.670]as a superintendent of Indian Affairs for Colorado,
[00:13:42.830]appoints Albert Boone to be the Indian agent
[00:13:47.950]for the region.
[00:13:48.783]So you have basically two Indian agents
[00:13:51.560]trying to figure this thing out,
[00:13:52.980]and eventually, Boone takes charge,
[00:13:59.120]but he's really green, because the Indian agent
[00:14:01.920]who had been there before was a guy by the name
[00:14:04.020]of William Bent, and he'd been there for 20 years,
[00:14:06.930]and he knew the Indians really well,
[00:14:08.390]he knew everybody.
[00:14:09.830]He could speak the languages,
[00:14:11.490]and he was very competent.
[00:14:13.470]And all of a sudden, Boone comes in,
[00:14:15.130]and he doesn't know anybody,
[00:14:16.770]and they gather them together
[00:14:19.010]at the treaty meeting,
[00:14:22.340]and he arbitrarily picks six people
[00:14:25.790]and says you're gonna be the leaders of the band,
[00:14:29.130]and they're gonna represent your tribes
[00:14:32.270]at this meeting.
[00:14:34.110]And it's questionable whether some of them had
[00:14:38.690]probably band authority, and some of them may have
[00:14:40.980]had broader authority, but for the most part,
[00:14:45.520]these people were arbitrarily picked.
[00:14:47.650]They weren't selected by their own communities,
[00:14:50.470]the Indian people.
[00:14:52.010]That's highly, when we talk about something
[00:14:56.240]that is not good in a contract,
[00:14:58.730]you wouldn't arbitrarily select six people
[00:15:00.910]to sign a contract.
[00:15:02.430]That's what happened.
[00:15:03.440]Two of the attendees were Black Kettle
[00:15:08.710]and White Antelope.
[00:15:10.500]Both of those were members of the Council of 44,
[00:15:13.090]and they weren't supposed to be there,
[00:15:15.490]but they wanted to advocate for peace,
[00:15:17.460]because that was one of the things
[00:15:18.870]that was supposed to be discussed.
[00:15:22.150]So, you get everybody together there,
[00:15:24.740]and you've got six Cheyennes and four Arapahos,
[00:15:31.120]and so they pick an interpreter for the Arapaho,
[00:15:35.720]and his name was Blackfoot Lying John Smith.
[00:15:41.530]And a couple years later in testimony
[00:15:44.470]for the Indian Commission, they found out
[00:15:46.600]that he didn't know how to speak the Arapaho language.
[00:15:51.810]That in and of itself should have voided this treaty.
[00:15:54.360]I mean, without a doubt.
[00:15:56.176]You do something like that,
[00:15:58.390]and it's just not kosher.
[00:16:04.060]The treaty itself was somewhat complex,
[00:16:06.350]and would have been confusing, I think,
[00:16:07.660]to the average person of the day.
[00:16:11.200]And one of the things that you can get
[00:16:13.840]from the idea of the treaty
[00:16:16.070]is that treaty was never constructed
[00:16:18.510]on the day of that meeting.
[00:16:20.650]It had to be constructed somewhere else,
[00:16:22.990]and with input from a number of other people,
[00:16:26.020]and consequently, you don't see an Indian voice
[00:16:29.730]within this treaty at all.
[00:16:34.646]And there was a couple of articles
[00:16:36.160]that were really clearly framed
[00:16:41.090]very late in the process.
[00:16:43.310]I'll give you those examples.
[00:16:45.210]Article six required that within a year,
[00:16:49.540]the Indian agent needed to get the signatures
[00:16:52.480]of all those bands that said they would not
[00:16:55.560]sign this treaty, and the language of the treaty,
[00:16:59.280]it said if you don't come in and sign this treaty,
[00:17:04.600]you're not going to realize the benefits of the treaty.
[00:17:08.720]And that struck me as really odd
[00:17:10.840]because the benefits of this treaty means
[00:17:14.190]you're giving up 52 million acres of land,
[00:17:17.080]you're moving down into the southeast corner
[00:17:19.630]of Colorado in a barren land
[00:17:22.090]where there were no buffalo, and no viable economic means,
[00:17:26.370]and your benefits?
[00:17:30.850]I always found that to be just absolutely ridiculous.
[00:17:36.860]One of the things I've said about this treaty
[00:17:38.730]was that there was a tremendous amount of conspiracy.
[00:17:41.880]There's corruption, there's fraud,
[00:17:44.960]collusion, all of it's in this treaty
[00:17:47.970]if you look deep enough, and begin to evaluate it.
[00:17:52.770]Cronyism is apparent.
[00:17:55.150]Nepotism is apparent.
[00:17:57.820]But one of the things that struck me
[00:17:59.370]as being really odd was that in Article 11,
[00:18:04.770]that the cities of Denver, Fort Morgan,
[00:18:08.540]or excuse me, Fort Collins, Boulder,
[00:18:11.160]and Colorado Springs, had a provision in the treaty
[00:18:14.520]that was going to allow them
[00:18:16.770]to buy the land that they were on,
[00:18:20.900]for a dollar and a quarter an acre.
[00:18:23.270]Remember what I said about the Act of 1834,
[00:18:27.460]everybody there was there illegally.
[00:18:30.980]And so these cities are there illegally,
[00:18:33.830]and they say in this provision,
[00:18:36.110]because we treated the Cheyenne and the Arapaho
[00:18:38.820]so comfortably, and were so kind to them,
[00:18:41.630]when they came into Denver, we're asking that in return,
[00:18:45.417]they let us purchase this land.
[00:18:48.110]Well, the real story is they weren't treated very well.
[00:18:52.510]In fact, when Left Hand went to Denver
[00:18:56.680]one time with his family,
[00:18:58.820]and the Braves went out hunting,
[00:19:03.430]the women were attacked and raped
[00:19:05.000]by an individual who was never even charged
[00:19:08.300]with a crime.
[00:19:09.662]No justice was done at all.
[00:19:12.180]And that's the kind of thing that happened
[00:19:13.980]to Indian people on a regular basis,
[00:19:16.169]so for them to put that language in there was onerous.
[00:19:24.580]The other parts of this treaty
[00:19:25.880]had some other interesting kinds of,
[00:19:31.054]you know, interesting processes.
[00:19:37.610]The treaty, when it first,
[00:19:38.960]now, today it doesn't show up this way.
[00:19:42.700]When you look at Kappler's Treaties,
[00:19:45.140]and you look at the different versions of this treaty,
[00:19:48.080]but the original treaty said
[00:19:51.604]that it was a treaty between the Confederacy
[00:19:55.260]of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations.
[00:19:59.210]And I looked at that thing 100 times
[00:20:00.990]before I processed it.
[00:20:04.890]Cheyenne and Arapahos were never a confederacy.
[00:20:08.670]They lived closely with each other,
[00:20:11.250]they hunted together, they intermarried.
[00:20:14.180]But they were never a confederacy.
[00:20:16.542]And so picking the term confederacy
[00:20:20.300]came from somewhere else.
[00:20:22.010]And a couple of ideas that I had about that
[00:20:24.610]was remember we're just now engaging
[00:20:27.500]in a civil war, and the term confederate
[00:20:30.610]would have had a very negative connotation.
[00:20:33.470]And I was wondering if maybe, in order to support
[00:20:36.270]the theory behind this treaty, that they use
[00:20:38.920]the word confederacy as being a warning,
[00:20:42.590]like the Indians are bad, and we don't,
[00:20:45.660]so I think there was that aspect of it.
[00:20:51.471]And or that when you look at this treaty,
[00:20:57.940]this is one of the weakest treaties I've ever seen,
[00:21:00.370]and really wasn't a very competent
[00:21:02.670]well-written document in that regard.
[00:21:04.630]So maybe to strengthen that, they tried to
[00:21:09.500]embellish the title.
[00:21:11.940]I don't know for sure about that last part,
[00:21:15.010]but the first part, I'm pretty sure about.
[00:21:18.220]In addition to that, there's a reference
[00:21:19.940]in the treaty about the Cheyenne and Arapaho,
[00:21:23.977]of the Upper Arkansas River.
[00:21:27.960]And so, if you were looking at that map,
[00:21:31.430]that line of the North Platte,
[00:21:33.460]or excuse me, the South Platte, coming across,
[00:21:35.890]and then the one coming down,
[00:21:37.230]all of that land in that area, in the pink,
[00:21:46.547]that was both Cheyenne and Arapaho land.
[00:21:50.563]But the northern bands were north of that area,
[00:21:52.810]Julesburg, into Nebraska, and the eastern part
[00:21:55.880]of Colorado, Denver was split right in two.
[00:21:59.190]And so the two different groups would have been
[00:22:01.220]in two different areas, and it recognizes that
[00:22:04.200]in the treaty, but then they try to refute it later on.
[00:22:07.600]And it actually shows up in the Treaty of 1851
[00:22:12.840]in the verbiage, and that treaty, about the distinction
[00:22:16.390]between the northern's and the southern bands
[00:22:19.760]of the Cheyenne and the Arapaho.
[00:22:21.800]And for this purpose, I think it's important
[00:22:23.570]to remember that, because I'll be talking
[00:22:25.660]a little bit more about that distinction
[00:22:27.440]between the two.
[00:22:30.003]And you can take the map back off.
[00:22:32.070]So you take this treaty,
[00:22:33.930]and you take it to Washington, D.C.,
[00:22:37.300]and the Senate looks at it,
[00:22:39.030]and the Senate is even confused by some of it,
[00:22:41.810]and they remove Article 11, because they found it
[00:22:45.190]to be too much of a conspiracy,
[00:22:49.250]and so some of the documents, you don't even see,
[00:22:53.067]the Article 11's not even in there,
[00:22:57.060]and it's just by happenstance that I found out
[00:22:59.160]information about that.
[00:23:02.590]But so the treaty goes to the president.
[00:23:05.210]It passes the Senate, and it gets to Evans,
[00:23:10.257]and Evans' looking at the treaty,
[00:23:14.067]and his comments were I don't like the way
[00:23:18.590]this thing looks,
[00:23:20.950]but we'll deal with reforming Indian country
[00:23:25.440]after the war.
[00:23:27.330]So clearly, he was suspicious of this particular treaty,
[00:23:31.750]and didn't necessarily want to sign it.
[00:23:34.550]But there's the X factor comes in.
[00:23:38.040]By this time, Evans is now,
[00:23:42.870]Governor Evans is now the territorial governor,
[00:23:46.590]and Evans just happens to be from Illinois,
[00:23:51.660]where Lincoln was from.
[00:23:52.930]They knew each back when they actually
[00:23:55.140]had done business together,
[00:23:57.000]and it was pretty suspicious that
[00:23:59.250]this controversial treaty, which should have been
[00:24:01.140]more controversial than what it was,
[00:24:03.330]gets signed by the president.
[00:24:05.380]But I want to make sure to put this into context, too.
[00:24:10.790]If we think about corruption in Indian Affairs,
[00:24:14.260]the time that it was worst was from 1860 to about 1870,
[00:24:19.420]you see the greatest amount of fraud in Indian country.
[00:24:21.950]And it was bad.
[00:24:23.810]In fact, in 1872, Congress convened a hearing,
[00:24:29.460]and there's a very big volume on just nothing
[00:24:31.700]but Indian fraud.
[00:24:32.550]And they tell you how bad it is.
[00:24:35.580]If anybody wants to track that one down
[00:24:38.010]and study it, it's about 1000 pages of fraud.
[00:24:43.100]So, when we're looking at this,
[00:24:47.328]the aftermath, the implementation of the treaty,
[00:24:51.410]people were looking at this and they're saying
[00:24:53.040]well what about these people who are here illegally?
[00:24:55.850]What are we gonna do about them?
[00:24:57.710]And they kind of just gloss it over at first.
[00:25:03.720]And all of a sudden, because it's an issue,
[00:25:10.418]the president at the time says
[00:25:15.340]we need to find a way to find some resolution to this.
[00:25:18.900]So they send out a guy by the name of S.E. Boone,
[00:25:22.560]who was a United States attorney for Colorado.
[00:25:26.440]And his job is to look at this treaty,
[00:25:28.337]and to try to understand it,
[00:25:30.380]and figure out what went on.
[00:25:33.920]And as he looked at it, he came to the conclusion
[00:25:37.060]that the land south of the South Platte,
[00:25:41.490]the people who were there could have had the authority
[00:25:45.741]to give that land away in the treaty,
[00:25:48.890]but the land north of the South Platte was questionable.
[00:25:54.390]These people never came in and signed it,
[00:25:56.740]so he sends a letter to the commissioner
[00:25:58.440]of Indian Affairs, who was Dole at that time,
[00:26:01.750]and he says what land was ceded?
[00:26:04.850]And Dole comes back and says
[00:26:09.870]oh, he doesn't respond.
[00:26:11.200]So Boone takes it upon himself,
[00:26:14.230]he writes an opinion saying that
[00:26:18.000]all of the land north of the South Platte
[00:26:20.030]in that area there was never ceded,
[00:26:23.140]and sends it back to the Indian commissioner.
[00:26:26.020]Indian commissioner reissues an opinion,
[00:26:27.820]gives it to Evans.
[00:26:30.130]Evans rejects it and says if you want to start
[00:26:32.930]an Indian war, implement this,
[00:26:35.210]because you're trying to start an Indian war,
[00:26:37.870]and threatens Dole.
[00:26:39.710]So it goes back to Dole.
[00:26:41.970]Dole gets a tremendous amount of political pressure,
[00:26:45.800]changes his opinion, sends it back,
[00:26:47.710]and says well maybe this land was ceded,
[00:26:51.720]maybe because Indians earn land in common,
[00:26:55.560]and so these guys could have done this,
[00:26:58.245]and so we're gonna say that it's ceded,
[00:27:01.720]but you still have to get the signatures
[00:27:04.100]of these people involved.
[00:27:05.730]And sends it back to Evans.
[00:27:08.550]Well, they never got the signatures, ever.
[00:27:12.040]There was never any,
[00:27:14.300]the attempts led to one guy signing,
[00:27:17.450]and he was drunk when he signed,
[00:27:19.700]and so that kind of invalidated that.
[00:27:24.700]Evans is just furious.
[00:27:27.050]He's beyond, he's beside himself
[00:27:28.970]about what's going on, gee this is absolutely,
[00:27:32.318]what am I gonna do?
[00:27:33.420]So his response is that he issues a proclamation
[00:27:38.070]declaring a war on Indians.
[00:27:39.830]He said all you Indians who are supposed to be,
[00:27:42.230]you're supposed to be down in this reservation
[00:27:44.060]in the southeast corner, and if you're not down there,
[00:27:46.520]if you don't go to your reservation,
[00:27:48.560]we're gonna declare you in violation
[00:27:51.030]of the treaty and we'll take you into custody,
[00:27:55.720]because we're declaring war against you.
[00:27:58.170]And when that wasn't successful, two months later,
[00:28:00.970]he gets even more aggressive.
[00:28:03.800]And he issues his second proclamation,
[00:28:06.700]that calls for the Colorado citizens
[00:28:12.460]to kill hostile Indians,
[00:28:15.430]and as a reward you can take the property.
[00:28:20.930]And there was even some definitions provided
[00:28:24.700]about what a hostile Indian,
[00:28:28.260]an evil look, could get you killed
[00:28:31.060]if you were a hostile Indian.
[00:28:33.200]So it was pretty horrible.
[00:28:37.940]Those proclamations were still on the book
[00:28:40.730]until August 11th 2021 when we got them,
[00:28:44.150]we finally got them rescinded.
[00:28:48.290]Part of that problem, during that period of time,
[00:28:50.580]was somebody was distributing arsenic,
[00:28:53.850]and they were poisoning Indians,
[00:28:56.645]and it was just part of that process
[00:28:58.330]of giving the Indians, destroying the Indians,
[00:29:00.270]getting them out of Colorado.
[00:29:02.100]And so the end result of all of this stuff
[00:29:04.240]that Evans is doing is they manage to corral
[00:29:07.150]a bunch of Indians down in the Sand Creek area,
[00:29:10.200]and you have the Sand Creek Massacre.
[00:29:12.650]And immediately after that, Indians virtually
[00:29:15.750]disappeared from Colorado.
[00:29:17.600]The Cheyennes and Arapahos go to other tribes
[00:29:21.040]with a pipe asking to declare war
[00:29:23.210]against the United States government,
[00:29:25.100]and for a period of time, there was an active war going on.
[00:29:29.078]That's, I think, in my opinion, that was the only
[00:29:32.178]real Indian war in the west.
[00:29:34.110]There's people that talk about different Indian wars,
[00:29:36.130]but that was the only true war,
[00:29:38.050]where there was actually a declaration
[00:29:39.510]by either party, of war.
[00:29:43.030]This eventually leads to a treaty in 1865
[00:29:48.370]that wasn't implemented, because the state of Kansas
[00:29:51.300]says they didn't want a reservation on their property,
[00:29:54.790]and so the southern tribes end up in Oklahoma
[00:29:59.410]on the Cherokee land, and get moved again.
[00:30:02.010]Eventually they get a reservation.
[00:30:04.230]The Cheyennes are in exile for 20 years,
[00:30:06.640]the Northern Cheyennes don't have a home
[00:30:09.050]until by executive order a reservation is created
[00:30:11.960]for them, in Montana.
[00:30:14.460]The Arapahos settle next to the Shoshone, in Wyoming.
[00:30:24.270]And that answers the question.
[00:30:27.560]It was genocide.
[00:30:28.400]Genocide was the reason why there was
[00:30:30.760]no reservations in the eastern part of Colorado,
[00:30:33.920]and along the front ring.
[00:30:36.160]Some of the most beautiful country in the world,
[00:30:37.740]and yet there were no reservations.
[00:30:39.580]They didn't survive.
[00:30:40.780]And so I think that's where we transition
[00:30:42.880]into the whole thought about truth, reconciliation,
[00:30:47.060]in that we chose a little bit different terminology
[00:30:52.000]when we constructed,
[00:30:53.350]we started a commission
[00:30:56.220]after we won the battle with the proclamations,
[00:30:59.820]we had a victory celebration, we had a feast,
[00:31:02.400]and we decided we were gonna move forward
[00:31:04.330]with something else, and we believe it was important
[00:31:07.000]that other people learn about the truth
[00:31:09.380]about what happened in Colorado.
[00:31:11.204]There are all of these stories,
[00:31:12.780]and how about this loss of land.
[00:31:14.900]So we decided that we were gonna do
[00:31:16.870]a Truth, Reconciliation, and Education Commission.
[00:31:19.550]And when we started, a couple of friends of mine
[00:31:22.630]who were returning cornered me and said
[00:31:25.010]you can't use the word reconciliation,
[00:31:26.960]because there was no conciliation to begin with.
[00:31:31.210]And so I came up with the term restoration
[00:31:34.380]as part of the title, what we're doing right now.
[00:31:39.193]And the purpose of this commission is to learn the truth,
[00:31:42.430]and tell the truth about the story of Colorado,
[00:31:45.207]and the history of Colorado,
[00:31:46.540]and not just what happened on the eastern front,
[00:31:49.640]but also on the western front,
[00:31:51.390]because the Utes were equally treated poorly
[00:31:55.270]by the United States government, and the state of Colorado.
[00:32:00.934]Some of the things that are still,
[00:32:03.870]just doesn't set well with me,
[00:32:05.300]is that the descendants of the people
[00:32:11.020]that were killed at the Sand Creek Massacre
[00:32:13.690]had a court, and petitioned in the court,
[00:32:17.916]and filed a case for benefits,
[00:32:23.010]from having suffered the loss of the relatives,
[00:32:25.900]and the United States court,
[00:32:29.680]it's really a very different kind of animal
[00:32:33.140]than what we think of, at least for Indians.
[00:32:35.670]And that's because if you think about the eagle,
[00:32:39.820]you think about an eagle as a representation
[00:32:41.890]of freedom and dignity and everything,
[00:32:45.430]and for Indian people on one wing,
[00:32:48.387]the United States government is our trustee,
[00:32:52.350]and so we carry the burden of being in that wing.
[00:32:56.940]But on the very same bird, on the other side,
[00:32:59.890]you have a judicial branch,
[00:33:02.210]and a judicial branch has authority to dictate
[00:33:04.823]what goes on throughout this.
[00:33:08.170]And so whenever we run up against an issue
[00:33:12.303]like this, where we have requested compensation
[00:33:16.310]for something, that the justice department
[00:33:19.710]and the courts stop it,
[00:33:21.900]and what they use in this particular case
[00:33:24.510]was failure to waive sovereign immunity.
[00:33:30.620]And that's, to me, for Indian people,
[00:33:33.370]our eagle can't fly.
[00:33:34.840]We can't fly, because we get hit
[00:33:37.310]with those things all the time, in the cases.
[00:33:43.390]I think that when we look at
[00:33:49.830]this whole issue of restoration, reconciliation,
[00:33:55.250]there's an education piece that I think is critical.
[00:33:58.470]We've pretty much resolved that we're not gonna find
[00:34:00.890]any salvation in the criminal justice system,
[00:34:07.910]or the court system, or anything like that.
[00:34:10.130]I'm gonna step back for one minute,
[00:34:11.440]because just when you think that everything's over,
[00:34:14.090]no there's no Indians left,
[00:34:15.730]then there's an opportunity in 1964
[00:34:18.550]where the tribes have filed,
[00:34:20.350]back in 46, to file claims in the court
[00:34:22.650]of Indian Claims Commission.
[00:34:24.940]So the Cheyenne and Arapaho did file a claim there,
[00:34:28.410]and unfortunately the settlement
[00:34:31.450]was absolutely ridiculous.
[00:34:35.800]The Indian Claims Commission awarded the tribes
[00:34:39.427]$15 million for 53 million acres of land,
[00:34:43.520]and contrary to most legal jurisprudent actions,
[00:34:49.610]when you have stolen land,
[00:34:52.350]that if you can prove that it was stolen,
[00:34:54.780]the owner gets the land back.
[00:34:58.230]That never happened, in one single Indian claims case.
[00:35:02.450]Hundreds of millions of acres of land
[00:35:04.810]that were stolen, deemed to be stolen,
[00:35:07.550]were never returned,
[00:35:09.010]and in a return, they issued money compensation,
[00:35:13.220]and that was probably, in this particular case,
[00:35:17.417]$15 million was 30 cents an acre.
[00:35:21.300]And also, there was never any consideration
[00:35:23.720]for the loss of the buffalo,
[00:35:27.870]probably valued at today's dollar
[00:35:29.690]at about a $3 billion asset.
[00:35:32.690]But no compensation for oil or gas,
[00:35:34.610]none for the gold that was taken out.
[00:35:37.080]And so you see even though it appears
[00:35:39.980]that in time there was some kind of justice
[00:35:44.440]done for these people, in fact, it was insulting.
[00:35:47.620]And the fact that the $15 million
[00:35:50.080]was not able to generate compounding interest
[00:35:53.860]over the time, because the rule of the court
[00:35:56.740]was that, at that time, if you had a treaty case,
[00:35:59.960]and you found it to be, you won,
[00:36:02.940]you got 5% compounding interest going forward.
[00:36:07.300]And that never happened in this situation.
[00:36:10.470]And the reason was they said they didn't have enough money.
[00:36:14.660]And I just find that just unsettling.
[00:36:21.337]Because one of the things that we've chosen to do
[00:36:24.570]in our Truth, Restoration, and Education Commission
[00:36:28.130]as part of our work is we're going to,
[00:36:30.670]we've already commissioned a study to do
[00:36:32.550]the historical economic loss assessment.
[00:36:35.400]So we're gonna evaluate each one of those areas,
[00:36:38.720]and determine the dollar value
[00:36:40.430]of what was lost on behalf of these people,
[00:36:44.230]and then we have to begin thinking about,
[00:36:46.130]well what are we gonna do after that?
[00:36:48.760]How are we gonna use this information?
[00:36:50.510]We know that we're not gonna go
[00:36:51.750]anywhere in the courts.
[00:36:53.180]So it's gonna be important for us to educate the public.
[00:36:56.150]This is gonna be, if we have anything good
[00:36:59.920]come out of this, it's gonna be because of public opinion,
[00:37:03.570]that we can sway public opinion,
[00:37:05.170]and show that we have not only an economic loss,
[00:37:08.200]but we have loss of life, we have loss of land,
[00:37:11.310]we have a loss of the homeland.
[00:37:12.660]And so we have to try to think about the future.
[00:37:15.440]What is this gonna bring?
[00:37:16.900]We believe the truth will help heal.
[00:37:19.080]We believe that truth is gonna help us
[00:37:22.000]with relationships with other people.
[00:37:25.160]We believe that having a good economic assessment done
[00:37:28.830]will show people what our financial loss was,
[00:37:32.370]so I think that, but there's gotta be
[00:37:35.050]a little bit more, and so we're thinking
[00:37:37.690]Rich Talbo, a dear friend of mine
[00:37:39.270]who's worked closely with us,
[00:37:40.660]came up with the idea that perhaps we should have
[00:37:44.170]an embassy in Denver so that these tribes
[00:37:46.840]could begin having a place back in their homeland,
[00:37:51.630]and begin negotiations about land back and resources.
[00:37:57.880]And some of the things we've talked about
[00:38:00.110]in bringing back some of the old things
[00:38:03.440]that happened back in 34 when they created
[00:38:06.970]the Indian Reorganization Act,
[00:38:08.540]it was Section 17,
[00:38:10.670]that allowed tribes to create corporations,
[00:38:14.680]and those corporations could do things
[00:38:17.390]like co-manage federal lands.
[00:38:20.070]If we can have some of those kinds of opportunities
[00:38:22.370]for our tribes, and bring them back into their homeland,
[00:38:25.860]we would just be delighted.
[00:38:30.927]But the TREC commission is in its infancy.
[00:38:35.640]We have about another probably 18 months to run
[00:38:39.700]before we finish our work,
[00:38:42.677]and we're still selecting commissioners,
[00:38:44.160]and I really appreciate Margaret for inviting me
[00:38:51.920]to share a story with you about Colorado
[00:38:54.680]and what happened and the treaty,
[00:38:56.280]and I will turn it over for questions.
[00:39:05.060]Thank you so much, Rick.
[00:39:07.130]And while we're waiting for some questions to come in,
[00:39:10.850]I don't think we have anything yet,
[00:39:13.960]I, of course, have many questions, as a historian.
[00:39:18.210]I love all this material that you're sharing with us.
[00:39:22.050]And I thought it was just fascinating,
[00:39:24.730]and I think you make an incredibly strong case,
[00:39:28.090]that the Fort Wise Treaty of 1861 was illegitimate.
[00:39:33.190]And so, I wondered,
[00:39:36.723]you talked about, you feel like there's just gonna be
[00:39:39.370]no justice in the court system,
[00:39:41.000]but are there any implications
[00:39:44.390]for the state of Colorado
[00:39:45.500]that this treaty was illegitimate?
[00:39:48.230]Like, I'm thinking of what happened in Oklahoma
[00:39:51.890]with the McGirt decision on the Supreme Court recently.
[00:39:56.880]Do you think there's any chance
[00:39:58.210]that there might be some legal ramifications
[00:40:01.510]from your findings?
[00:40:04.000]I think it would take an extraordinary effort.
[00:40:06.890]One of the things that we,
[00:40:08.951]one of the breaks that we might have
[00:40:11.050]is the fact that those particular proclamations
[00:40:16.950]were rescinded in contemporary times,
[00:40:19.460]so the clock started on those August 10th, 2021.
[00:40:24.830]And so the statute of limitations
[00:40:27.655]could be waived because of that.
[00:40:30.543]But then you get into all of the legal issue
[00:40:34.350]with latches, and res judicata,
[00:40:37.830]was this already tested in the courts?
[00:40:42.410]So right now, it's probably not one of our primary
[00:40:49.390]focuses to try to do this,
[00:40:53.500]but eventually, we do have,
[00:40:58.030]we're working on some legal opinions
[00:40:59.860]about the nature of the work that we're doing,
[00:41:02.380]and because of this,
[00:41:05.370]because of these findings,
[00:41:07.690]and I honestly believe
[00:41:11.830]that absent a court having an opportunity
[00:41:16.300]to hear this, if we were able to get
[00:41:17.970]into an international court,
[00:41:19.600]we'd win this hands down.
[00:41:20.970]I mean, there's no doubt about it.
[00:41:22.850]If we can get an impartial system
[00:41:25.700]to evaluate, to judge this,
[00:41:27.150]we would win it hands down.
[00:41:28.500]There's no doubt in my mind.
[00:41:31.000]We know that we've proven the fraud and the conspiracy.
[00:41:35.660]Everything that I said, I can prove it with facts,
[00:41:39.600]and I'm not the first,
[00:41:41.020]because in 1964,
[00:41:45.480]an author by the name of Unrue
[00:41:47.970]did an article called "Prelude to War",
[00:41:49.990]and he articulates this as well as anybody I've seen.
[00:41:54.430]But it disappears from the public.
[00:41:55.920]That's part of the problem,
[00:41:56.920]is just yesterday we were talking
[00:42:00.370]about renaming Mount Everest,
[00:42:02.669]and these things are just now
[00:42:06.560]starting to come full circle,
[00:42:10.879]and so maybe somehow
[00:42:14.210]we'll have that opportunity.
[00:42:15.950]And the other thing that's interesting
[00:42:17.620]is because the state of Colorado
[00:42:19.610]carries a tremendous amount of culpability,
[00:42:23.540]that might be the venue that we pursue.
[00:42:28.150]In addition to that, I say that those cities
[00:42:31.290]have culpability for having created this conspiracy
[00:42:35.410]of getting that land, and then they actually
[00:42:38.150]did get the land for that price.
[00:42:41.150]So those kinds of things are there.
[00:42:45.940]Thank you, Rick.
[00:42:47.150]We have a question from somebody I think you know.
[00:42:52.010]He asks can you talk about your efforts
[00:42:55.230]to get the longstanding Colorado law repealed
[00:42:58.830]that allowed for the killing of Native people there?
[00:43:02.040]So, the fortunate thing is that's been rescinded.
[00:43:06.710]It was rescinded on August 10th.
[00:43:09.350]I fought tooth and nail for almost two years
[00:43:13.890]to try to get the attention of the governor to rescind that.
[00:43:17.420]And I just wasn't getting through to him,
[00:43:21.080]and last year, he was doing a public appearance
[00:43:24.580]at the Indian Center in regards to the mascot issue,
[00:43:27.960]and so I went.
[00:43:29.700]And I was able to corner him personally
[00:43:33.400]and question him, how come he wasn't doing anything
[00:43:36.340]about the proclamations.
[00:43:37.620]And his response was, what proclamations?
[00:43:41.350]His staff was very embarrassed,
[00:43:43.240]because they hadn't done anything
[00:43:45.580]to really help that along.
[00:43:48.930]So within two weeks of that confrontation with him,
[00:43:52.590]it was on the way to being rescinded.
[00:43:54.877]And so both of the proclamations
[00:43:56.680]were rescinded at the same time.
[00:44:01.400]So now the questions are coming in fast and furious.
[00:44:06.210]So, Alicia Harris writes can you tell us about
[00:44:10.080]any cultural movements back into the Colorado area?
[00:44:14.780]She knows that the Cheyenne and Arapaho
[00:44:16.550]take a group to Sand Creek,
[00:44:18.216]and they run to Denver every year.
[00:44:20.660]Are there other groups or movements
[00:44:22.610]from the Northern Cheyenne, or Arapaho,
[00:44:25.250]or collaborative efforts between the tribes,
[00:44:27.900]to culturally regain their homelands
[00:44:30.020]in Eastern Colorado?
[00:44:32.400]There's talk going on about it,
[00:44:33.893]and you know who's been most helpful,
[00:44:36.320]is you have people like the Right Relationships
[00:44:39.000]group in Boulder, and the counties of Boulder,
[00:44:42.640]and Longmont, the cities, Broomfield,
[00:44:45.010]are all talking about ways that they can bring
[00:44:49.010]those individuals back for ceremonies,
[00:44:52.140]and for different kinds of things,
[00:44:54.400]and so it is happening on an individual basis,
[00:44:58.500]but nobody, we don't have any people
[00:45:01.420]actually moving back, and that's why
[00:45:04.230]we really want to have the embassy,
[00:45:05.770]is so that we have presence here in the state.
[00:45:12.210]So we have another question from Alex Fox.
[00:45:15.290]And he asks would you be willing to share
[00:45:18.470]any upcoming projects you and or the People
[00:45:21.790]of the Sacred Land are currently planning,
[00:45:24.460]and how can we support that work?
[00:45:26.810]And you haven't talked much about the People
[00:45:28.230]of the Sacred Land yet, but that's an amazing
[00:45:30.530]project as well.
[00:45:32.353]So, the People of the Sacred Land is the nonprofit
[00:45:35.749]that is sponsoring the TREC,
[00:45:38.400]the Truth and Restoration Commission.
[00:45:40.196]And it's a group of Indian people in Denver,
[00:45:42.080]about 40 of us have come together
[00:45:43.830]to try to make changes in our community.
[00:45:46.180]Some of the things that we want to see
[00:45:48.040]is we're trying to do capital to do,
[00:45:50.140]like women's shelters, to help the Indian centers.
[00:45:53.630]Locate and secure sacred sites.
[00:45:56.980]So we are very busy,
[00:46:00.150]the TREC project is our primary project right now,
[00:46:03.800]but we also have a bill in the state legislature
[00:46:06.220]right now in Colorado,
[00:46:07.890]trying to garner some resources
[00:46:09.910]so that we can take on some of the other
[00:46:11.940]activities that we want to see,
[00:46:13.890]and again help our people come back.
[00:46:21.290]I'm just gonna keep going through all the questions.
[00:46:23.350]There's a lot.
[00:46:25.320]You are wearing a Northern Cheyenne flag,
[00:46:27.440]and spoke of the Council of 44.
[00:46:29.480]Do the Northern Cheyenne also have a Council of 44?
[00:46:33.430]The Council of 44 is all of the Cheyennes,
[00:46:36.950]northern and southern.
[00:46:38.450]All of the 10 bands.
[00:46:46.120]If the courts are not going to work with you
[00:46:47.890]to get land back, who can you look to
[00:46:50.180]in order to get compensation?
[00:46:53.660]Well, the first place we're gonna start
[00:46:55.230]is we're gonna ask people to give us land back.
[00:46:57.560]If you're the last one in your family,
[00:47:00.690]and you've got some property,
[00:47:01.980]maybe you should think about giving it back
[00:47:04.030]to the Indians.
[00:47:06.640]There's no reason why you can't do that.
[00:47:08.250]And so I think, and that's happening.
[00:47:10.820]That's happening in some cases.
[00:47:14.270]But we have to have the infrastructure in place
[00:47:16.300]to deal with that, and that's where the embassy
[00:47:18.940]is gonna come in handy, is when we have the people
[00:47:22.857]to help, to make it work.
[00:47:27.220]We have a question about the McGirt Decision.
[00:47:30.560]And maybe for those in the audience
[00:47:32.350]who don't know what that is,
[00:47:33.850]you could say a little bit about it.
[00:47:35.620]The question is could you speak to what you think
[00:47:39.010]about the McGirt Decision, and did it go far enough?
[00:47:43.030]I'm not competent in that area.
[00:47:46.150]I don't know that case very well.
[00:47:48.530]I've never spent much time with it.
[00:47:53.167]And I really had to focus on the work in Colorado.
[00:47:57.250]I've heard a little bit about it,
[00:47:58.790]and I heard it was a good group,
[00:48:01.250]but I'm not the person
[00:48:04.020]to deal with that one.
[00:48:06.090]Maybe we'll have to do a McGirt talk sometime,
[00:48:09.470]because that's also the Great Plains, right?
[00:48:13.600]Here's another one.
[00:48:14.470]Are there any lessons that can be learned
[00:48:16.670]from how First Nations in Canada
[00:48:18.580]obtained a reparation agreement
[00:48:20.450]from the Canadian government?
[00:48:25.570]I think yes,
[00:48:26.950]and it really has to do with the unity
[00:48:29.110]of the nations up there.
[00:48:32.360]I think that if we could all come together,
[00:48:36.020]all Indian nations come together,
[00:48:38.940]and operate as one entity,
[00:48:40.610]we could easily create greater changes.
[00:48:44.140]Even if all of our communities,
[00:48:45.790]like all the Lakota, Nakoda, and Dakota tribes
[00:48:48.930]could come together and operate as one entity,
[00:48:51.530]and I think the section 17 corporation
[00:48:55.610]is a model that they're trying
[00:48:57.100]up in the Black Hills, so I think those kinds
[00:48:59.840]of things are starting to happen,
[00:49:01.860]but it's not as vast and as wide
[00:49:06.070]as we would like it.
[00:49:10.510]So here's a question,
[00:49:11.610]I believe this is probably coming,
[00:49:13.130]yeah, it's coming from Colorado State University,
[00:49:15.350]so welcome, people from Colorado State.
[00:49:17.480]We're glad you're here.
[00:49:18.810]How might an Indigenous graduate student collective
[00:49:22.730]at Colorado State University, also a land grant university,
[00:49:26.760]try to leverage support for these reconciliation efforts?
[00:49:31.820]Start at home, and work with your president
[00:49:35.090]on the land grant status of the institution.
[00:49:39.600]CSU is one of those land grand institutions
[00:49:42.210]that has a significant amount of money
[00:49:44.670]in their endowment.
[00:49:46.000]They still have 19,000 acres of land,
[00:49:48.830]and it's land that was taken.
[00:49:51.390]It's land, that some of this land, was stolen.
[00:49:53.370]And I think that they're willing to listen.
[00:49:56.370]And a group of faculty have already met with the president,
[00:49:59.640]and the process is starting.
[00:50:01.200]And I think the other thing I would love to do
[00:50:05.590]is have some of you contact me about assisting us
[00:50:09.180]with the research on this project,
[00:50:11.660]because we can always use help from graduate students.
[00:50:17.790]I'm gonna take the privilege of being the moderator
[00:50:20.770]and insert a question here.
[00:50:23.480]What do you think we could do at the University of Nebraska
[00:50:26.560]to further these types of efforts as well?
[00:50:30.620]I think continue to do what you're doing
[00:50:32.510]in regards to getting the word out
[00:50:35.220]about issues, and in Indian country,
[00:50:37.670]throughout the United States, and raising those
[00:50:40.380]difficult and challenging questions,
[00:50:42.710]and looking for ways for reconciliation,
[00:50:45.510]and reckoning the past.
[00:50:47.580]I think your title of what you do is perfect.
[00:50:50.420]And you've reached out and done a wonderful job
[00:50:53.280]in that area.
[00:50:54.230]We need to continue that, and hopefully
[00:50:58.200]you can get additional funding
[00:50:59.840]to continue across the Plains region,
[00:51:02.550]because we need it all over.
[00:51:07.350]Kevin Abarusc has another question.
[00:51:09.070]Are you working on a specific land back
[00:51:12.180]effort right now?
[00:51:17.956]I've had a couple of opportunities
[00:51:21.290]with individuals, but I've tabled them
[00:51:23.450]because we're not in a position
[00:51:25.150]to take an asset and then manage it.
[00:51:28.560]And eventually as we grow as an organization,
[00:51:31.270]we'll begin doing it.
[00:51:32.470]What we really want to have happen
[00:51:33.840]is also have the tribes be partners
[00:51:36.381]in those kinds of ventures,
[00:51:38.369]and until we get them back into the state
[00:51:40.900]on a regular basis, and have some permanency,
[00:51:43.690]it's difficult to do.
[00:51:45.230]So during the works, we're thinking about it,
[00:51:49.589]and trying to plan how we're gonna do it.
[00:51:53.440]So another question from Jill Holt,
[00:51:55.780]and I just want to call out Jill,
[00:51:58.440]because she does a lot of amazing work
[00:52:00.930]in the state of Nebraska on the Indian Child Welfare Act,
[00:52:04.770]and Jill asks is there anywhere to find out
[00:52:10.180]whether there are other efforts such as this
[00:52:12.330]going on in other states?
[00:52:16.960]I think you would be the person that would know.
[00:52:21.020]You're probably more familiar with what's going on.
[00:52:25.100]I'm so narrowly focused right now
[00:52:27.670]that I spend all my time
[00:52:30.852]from one book to the next,
[00:52:32.750]and creating, I haven't looked beyond.
[00:52:36.660]And I think one of the things that we did do
[00:52:39.260]is as we created this, our TREC commission,
[00:52:43.860]we've made it so that it's replicable
[00:52:45.930]across the nation.
[00:52:49.378]And accessible in finding ways
[00:52:51.700]so that you can do this in other states,
[00:52:54.810]and other communities.
[00:52:56.210]So I think we've tried to,
[00:52:58.210]that was one of our emphases that we wanted to do.
[00:53:03.095]That's really great, Rick.
[00:53:05.650]And it is true that I have been following
[00:53:08.700]this a little bit, so Jill if you reach out to me,
[00:53:11.280]I can share with you what working with Kevin Abarusc
[00:53:15.790]we have, we're trying to keep a running list
[00:53:19.140]of where these kinds of efforts are going on
[00:53:21.300]in other states, especially around land returns.
[00:53:24.790]So Jill, hope you'll reach out to me, and Kevin.
[00:53:30.010]So, anymore questions?
[00:53:38.290]I'll give people just a few minutes,
[00:53:40.340]if they have any more questions.
[00:53:41.990]Oh, I see there's a Q&A.
[00:53:43.410]I haven't been following that very well.
[00:53:54.780]Anything else anyone wants to ask
[00:53:57.320]before we close?
[00:54:00.200]Well, I just want to thank,
[00:54:01.190]oh, Rick, do you want to say anything more?
[00:54:03.170]I do want to say one more thing.
[00:54:04.730]And I think it's important for historians
[00:54:08.630]to take a look at that book,
[00:54:10.780]and I put the title in there,
[00:54:12.730]because that perspective has not been
[00:54:16.800]available to us in relatively recent times.
[00:54:20.350]I've not found anybody who's referencing
[00:54:23.670]any of the information in that book,
[00:54:26.202]and the reference that I found, of how I found that book,
[00:54:30.510]was 80 years old.
[00:54:32.990]And so I think that young scholars and historians
[00:54:37.110]should be looking at that and seeing
[00:54:39.090]a very interesting perspective
[00:54:40.720]on Indian Affairs and the Indian Commissioner's office.
[00:54:44.290]It's delightful to see, and it's a good read.
[00:54:48.480]And also Chief Left Hand's book
[00:54:51.000]by Margaret Coel's a good read.
[00:54:54.450]So was the book you're referring to,
[00:54:56.360]that's the "Indian Wards", "Our Indian Wards"?
[00:55:00.553]By George Maypenny?
[00:55:07.340]Yeah, so thank you so much.
[00:55:09.080]We are so appreciative.
[00:55:11.940]You told me before we started I was gonna learn something,
[00:55:14.730]and absolutely I learned an enormous amount.
[00:55:17.690]I always do when I talk to you,
[00:55:19.730]and we're just so grateful for your presentation tonight,
[00:55:24.490]and we look forward to having more conversations
[00:55:27.770]with you in the future.
[00:55:30.750]It was my pleasure.
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