Indianz.Com > News > Harold Frazier: Honor sacred promises to our Native Sovereign Nations
Harold Frazier
Chairman Harold Frazier of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe addresses the National Congress of American Indians in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on October 23, 2019. Photo by Kevin Abourezk
The Earth is our Grandmother, and Mni Wiconi means Water is Life
Tuesday, September 13, 2022
Chairman, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States claims to control Oklahoma Indian lands in the Castro-Huerta decision. In violation of the Constitution, our treaties, and congressional statutes, the Supreme Court says that the state can enter Creek Nation lands in Oklahoma to exercise state sovereignty.

Our 1851 and 1868 Sioux Nation treaties forbid state encroachment, and we reject the Supreme Court’s unilateral decisions to amend the Creek Nation’s treaties.

In the beginning, Wakan Tanka, the Creator, gave the first woman and first man the breath of life, and with life, liberty to seek our sacred visions to guide us, and a sacred duty to protect Grandmother Earth and the Creation.

In the time before America, our territory was Makoce Waste, the Good Land. Long ago, our Grandfathers and Grandmothers created the Seven Council Fires, Oceti Sakowin Lakota-Nakota-Dakota Oyate, of the Great Sioux Nation.

Sitting Bull said, “We are free, no one controls our footsteps.” Our Lakota Oyate kept our land and fought wars to defend our People. Crow Feather said, “This country is mine. I was raised in it. My forefathers lived and died in it. I wish to remain in it.” Crazy Horse said, “One does not sell the land the People walk on.”

Our 1868 Sioux Nation treaty was signed to end the Powder River War. America’s Organic Acts require a treaty based upon mutual consent, as set forth in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution’s Treaty and Supremacy Clauses, the Northwest Ordinance, and the Louisiana Purchase Treaty. America pledged its honor that war shall forever cease, no cession of land without 3/4s consent of our Nation, the Army to stay south of the North Platte River, and only the President’s representatives to come to our lands. Chief Red Cloud and Crazy Horse burned the Powder River country forts before Red Cloud came down from the Black Hills to sign the treaty.

As the Declaration of Independence says, “just powers of government flow from the consent of the governed.” Our Native Sovereign Nations never agreed to the Supreme Court changing our treaties. The Supreme Court says our treaties are old. It’s true, some treaties are older than the Constitution and are expressly affirmed by the Constitution.

Our 1868 Treaty is affirmed by the 14th Amendment. The 14th Amendment was ratified at the same time as our Treaty and recognizes our Lakota People as “Indians not taxed” under Sioux Nation jurisdiction.

Mr. President, we call upon you to honor America’s sacred promises to our Native Sovereign Nations. With respect, we call upon you to issue an Executive Order to affirm our nation-to-nation relations between Native Sovereign Nations and the United States of America, help us fight the drug crime and gun violence in Indian country, and help us with decent health care to raise our Native American life expectancy above 65 years of age, on par with the rest of America. We call upon Congress to affirm our Native rights, stop climate change, and safeguard the next seven generations.

Right now, some in the Senate are seeking to end run NEPA and existing law and put in new oil and gas pipelines throughout America — 25 national pipelines on a rotating priority list. Senator Joe Manchin’s bill seeks to swiftly bypass Indian tribes, ignore climate change and pollute Grandmother Earth. We call upon Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House to stop the Senate’s mischief.

Mni Wiconi means water is life, and no one will silence our Native peoples.

Harold Frazier is serving his second consecutive term as chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, an Indian nation based in South Dakota. He also serves as president of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association. He previously served as chair and vice chair of his tribe. He currently serves as a regional vice president for the National Congress of American Indians.