After the events of the late 1800’s that were so catastrophic to the dwindling Native American population, things have not gotten much better. The Native Americans were pushed onto reservations, and that’s where many of them have stayed. There, out of sight, many of their rights as human beings have been trampled as well. Even so, the various groups who live in these reservations aren’t always on the same page–and the Lakota Indians are no different.
The Lakota Native Americans are spread across a number of reservations located throughout South Dakota. Many are at the Rosebud Indian Reservation, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the Lower Brule Indian Reservation, the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, and the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Even so, they have also since spread to other state reservations as well. You can find a few living in the Fort Peck Indian Reservation of Montana. In addition, they’re in smaller numbers at Saskatchewan and Manitoba and the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation and even in Denver.
Not all of the remaining Lakota live here in the U.S. Many found sanctuary in Canada after they were pushed to U.S. reservations during the skirmishes of the 1800s.
In late 2007, a group of activists marched to Washington D.C. in order to state their intention to end all treaties with the U.S. government. Needless to say, no formal withdrawal ever took place. That’s because the activists weren’t part of any Lakota governing force and had no right to speak on behalf of their own tribes. Other issues have developed involving how to govern family relations when it was alleged that Lakota grandparents were having children stolen away.
Right now, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (or UNPO) hope to continue the fight for rights to Lakota ancestral lands. Even so, it’s hard to imagine they’ll be granted much that they ask for without any real civil rights weight behind them.
The government of the Lakota Native Americans is set apart from the U.S. government, autonomous on its own. They elect their officials to councils set within the reservations and communities where they are mostly populated, and those councils represent the interests of their people.
Even though what happened to the Lakota Indians and other Native American tribes was a tragedy brought about by the U.S. government, and the reparations provided were limited, it should serve as a reminder to future generations to not let this kind of terrible event transpire again.