Covenant of Free Access to Traditional Lakota Territory

On Friday July 7, 2017, the Strong Heart Warrior Society of the Independent Lakota Nation met with officials of the Black Hills National Forest in Custer, SD to discuss access of the Black Hills by Lakota Oyate, Indigenous peoples, their relatives and agents.

During the roughly 45 minute meeting, the Independent Lakota Nation delivered notice with the Covenant of Free Access to Traditional Lakota Territory for Lakota Oyate, Indigenous People, Lakota Relatives & Our Agents.

Watch the meeting video on Facebook.

In attendance for Independent Lakota Nation, Canupa Gluha Mani, Ana Oian Amets, Ezeder Tzorginda, Aranean Argi.  In attendance for the U.S. Forest Service Black Hills was Supervisor,Mark Van Every, Deputy Forest Supervisor Jerry Krueger , and Special Agent Travis Lunders.

Strong Heart encourages ALL Lakota and Indigenous people to assert independent jurisdiction within unceeded Lakota Territory by exercising customary rights to hunt, fish, and gather medicines as well as refuse to pay the U.S. Forest Service or their contractors for access to Lakota Territory at recreation areas and similar locations.

The Lakota Solidarity Project is organizing a 2017 Jurisdiction Camp to assert and monitor Lakota access and jurisdiction across the Black Hills and surrounding territory.  Support the camp by volunteering or making a donation. Thankyou!

Download the covenant in PDF format.

Text Version

Covenant of Free Access to Traditional Lakota Territory for Lakota Oyate, Indigenous People, Lakota Relatives & Our Agents

July 7, 2017   |   Original: English

“As long as the grass grows and the rivers flow, this land will always be yours.” 
Promise made to the Tetuwan Lakota Oyate by the United States Government

Whereas the Tetuwan Lakota Oyate is an original first nation of people on Turtle Island and has occupied its territorial land base (hereafter Lakota Territory) since time immemorial into present including modern day portions of the states known as South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and Nebraska.

Whereas the Tetuwan Lakota Oyate has never relinquished nation status and retains all inherent, natural rights of a nation including the right of customary tenure, aboriginal title, as well as free and unrestricted access and use of its territorial land base to develop and preserve Lakota customary political, social, economic, and cultural institutions.

Whereas the Independent Lakota Nation represents the intergenerational assertion of independent nation status that began with treaty making between the Oceti Sakowin and the United States Government in the mid-late 1800s and has been subsequently represented to the United States and the International Community by Chief He Dog, the Grey Eagle Society, 1973 Wounded Knee declaration; Chief John Grass, and the Lakota Freedom Delegation among others.

Whereas He Sapa or the Black Hills is customary Lakota Territory and has been recognized by the United States Government as judicially unceeded, stolen land (United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians; 1980); and, the Tetuwan Lakota Oyate have never accepted payment or compensation that would extinguish inherent title or customary jurisdiction to this territory.

Whereas the Tetuwan Lakota Oyate, Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, and their relatives have the customary, international, and judicially recognized rights to access unappropriated government or public lands for the purposes of hunting, fishing, gathering of medicinal plants and foods, ceremonial activities, and any other activities that preserve and advance customary social, cultural, religious, economic, and political knowledge and institutions.

Therefore by virtue of the preceding facts, the Independent Lakota Nation declares the following Covenant of Free Access in official notice to the United States Government, state governments, local governments, and the general public:

Covenant 1

The Tetuwan Lakota Oyate, bands of the Oceti Sakowin, Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, and their customary relatives and agents maintain free and unrestricted access to all unappropriated government lands and facilities within the boundaries of Lakota Territory including United States National Forest lands, U.S. Park lands and national monuments, U.S. National Grasslands, U.S. Bureau of Land Management lands, U.S. Recreation lands, state forests, state parks, wildlife/game management areas, and all similar unappropriated government lands and associated facilities such as parking areas, restrooms, boat ramps, and campgrounds.

Covenant 2

The Tetuwan Lakota Oyate, bands of the Oceti Sakowin, Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, and their customary relatives and agents shall not be subjected to fees, licenses, or other administrative burdens that would prevent their free and uninterrupted access to unappropriated government lands and their associated public facilities in Lakota Territory.

Covenant 3

The Tetuwan Lakota Oyate, bands of the Oceti Sakowin, Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, and their customary relatives and agents maintain their rights to hunting, fishing, and gathering of plants and customary medicines without Federal or State regulation, harassment or interference, including license or bag limits, and in all seasons of the year. This Covenant only applies to the classes listed above and does not apply to non-Indigenous persons accompanying Indigenous persons exercising their inherent rights.

Covenant 4

The Tetuwan Lakota Oyate, bands of the Oceti Sakowin, Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, and their customary relatives and agents shall exercise the right to maintain, protect, and have access in privacy to spiritual and cultural sites; to use and control ceremonial objects associated with customary activities; to create, construct, and use in privacy dwellings, gathering places, encampments, or other temporary or permanent structures associated with the exercise of inherent rights; and, to protect, defend, or otherwise ensure the care of Indigenous human or cultural remains within Lakota Territory.

Covenant 5

The Tetuwan Lakota Oyate, bands of the Oceti Sakowin, Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, and their customary relatives and agents or guests shall be identified by their presentation or use of Indigenous identification cards, licenses and passports denoting Indigenous ethnicity, license plates, and other forms of Indigenous identification.

Covenant 6

The Tetuwan Lakota Oyate, bands of the Oceti Sakowin, Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, and their customary relatives and agents shall be free from any act of bias or discrimination, or any act depriving or dispossessing them from access to their land by United States employees, their contractors or concessionaires, or by other local, state or Federal officers or agents in the exercise of their duties.

Covenant 7

The Tetuwan Lakota Oyate, bands of the Oceti Sakowin, Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, and their customary relatives and agents maintain the right to assert and display Lakota jurisdiction across unappropriated government lands including the placing of temporary or permanent signs, historical markers, survey flags, prayer ties, or other items of cultural significance without fear of removal by local, state or Federal officers or agents in the exercise of their duties.

Signed and delivered on the _______ day of ______________­­­­­_ in the year __________;

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Canupa Gluha Mani, Itacan, Strong Heart Warrior Society, Independent Lakota Nation

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Mark Van Every, Supervisor, Black Hills National Forest, United States Forest Service

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Ana Oian Amets, Strategic Communications, Strong Heart Warrior Society, Independent Lakota Nation

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Meeting Participant

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Meeting Participant

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Meeting Participant

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Meeting Participant

 

 

 

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