This Date in Native History: On this day in 1851, more than 50,000 Indigenous Red “Indian” people gathered to officially sign the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie with the government of the United States. The treaty guaranteed forever the protection of their rights of ownership of their ancient and indigenous homelands of the northern Great Plains of Great Turtle Island of Grand Mother Earth.
Nine Red Nations camped just west of what is now Scottsbluff, Nebraska, along Horse Creek—having moved the great encampment three times in order to keep the horses fed and to protect Grand Mother Earth from any damage their immense camp might cause.
The community of ancient allies, included the official representatives (Oyate Omniciye “Community Circle Meetings of The People Gatherings” delegated) included the Crow, Nakota/DaNakota/Dakota/Lakota, Hidatsa, Mandan, Blackfeet, Gros Ventre, Arikara, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe, coming easterly from Fort Laramie where they had originally gathered three weeks before.
In each community of each of the nine nations for over six years prior, organizers facilitated “Talking Circle” Meetings—called Oyate Omniciye in the N/DN/D/Lakota language—to secure unanimous agreement to produce hand-written signatures by the United States government on a piece of paper.
The Red Nations realized the laws and ways of the European “Americans,” that the written word is sacred to them, appearing on treaties, deeds, titles, and other documents of law that hold ultimate authority in their system of law. They needed that government signature to guarantee rights to their great grandchildren once the “Great Dying” subsided—American “progress” and mass genocide that occurred against Red Peoples as “America” moved west to occupy more lands and steal resources such as gold, timber, and water from Red Nation owners.
On September 17, 1851 the day the nine nations had so long strived for, came true as the positive focus of many great and honest peoples—among them and in attendance young men and future icons such as Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, came to life with the signing of the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie.
Although daily violated by the U.S. government, the treaty is still in effect, unless dissolved by an official declaration of war by the United States. Currently, $9 trillion in Black Hills gold sits as stolen property in Fort Knox Kentucky, which needs to be returned for reburial along with depredation damage payments made to the nine signatory nations for the theft.
Also, trillions in Wyoming coal is being illegally spirited away to American cities, providing free electricity and billions of dollars in profits to the businesses and companies there each year—without a penny going to the indigenous 1851 Treaty nation owners. The 1851 Treaty guarantees the right of Indigenous Peoples to collect depredation payments from the U.S. government and can be utilized by today’s generations to make a good life for their families and loved ones.
The wisdom of the great, honest, peaceful, and wise 1851 Red Ancestors can be passed on by those today, and on into the future once again, by the greatest people on earth—the Indigenous Red Nations and Peoples of Great Turtle Island.
Scott Barta is an indigenous activist and self-proclaimed 1851 treaty expert as well as a professional Sun Dance singer; Ho Cank (Thunder Bird Clan)/DaNakota (Red Horse Tiospaye) from Ihanktunwan DaNakota Homelands of Wagner, South Dakota.