Badlands’ located on the Pine Ridge Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota (Photo Credit: Bud May)
In what is being called a federal land “buyback” program, the federal government is poised to seize land belonging to Indians and Cowboys.
The Department of Interior is now going to steal protected land on Pine Ridge in South Dakota.
The Oglala Sioux and Lakota Sioux of the reservation have been told by the Federal Government that the National Parks Service will take over land in the South Unit of the Badlands National Park.
Map of the land in question.
Interior claims it will be a “Tribal National Park” in an effort to camouflage the theft. They will hold the land in “trust” for the Indians, many of whom are agreeable because they want to see it put back to its pristine state and they have been promised a whole host of benefits.
The congressional bill authorizing the buyback means that tribal members and non-tribal members will be robbed of their deeded land at whatever price the government thinks it’s worth.
If owners refuse, the government will merely take it at no cost as the bill is written.
Thousands of Indians will be affected, losing their residence and their income from grazing allotments. The remaining independent ranchers will go out of business.
Tribes will also lose their share of income from entrance fees to Badlands National Park.
The Indians aren’t poor enough with $8,000 a year incomes?!?
Tribal members who are land owners say they will stand their ground.
The government owns 50% of the land in this country and is seizing land under false or shaky pretenses on a continual basis. We are losing our private property rights in this country.
A tribal council – Tribal Council 19 – paved the way for this takeover without involving the land owners, who only found out after the measure was passed. The Council continue to ignore land owners because they have been promised the land will be held in trust for them. Some of the land is tied up in leases and the government wants them back.
All 9 districts on the reservation have passed unanimous resolutions against the park along with the Shannon County Commissioners and several South Dakota State legislators but the Council ignored them.
The government says that having so many land owners on Pine Ridge fractionalizes the land and prevents the land use from being capitalized sufficiently.
Isn’t that true of all private property ownership in this country? Can’t that argument be used to seize everyone’s property?
The government of course will be completely in charge of the land.
Offers of land buybacks totaling more than $100 million have already been sent out to landowners to give them the opportunity to voluntarily sell their fractionated interests or lose it with a seizure. The deadline was the end of June.
The land will be consolidated and held in trust for the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation.
The Department of Indian Affairs says that it will allow the Indians to “strengthen tribal sovereignty” and allow for “self-governance.”
Indians who support the program know that the government can’t be trusted and they will be the managers of the land.
In fact, there are lawsuits over the loss of tribal income now secured by the government for oil and mineral rights on Pine Ridge.
For the first time, the Cowboys and the Indian landowners appear to be ready with a united front against this land grab.
Land owners said they will not comply.
Tribal member and cattle rancher Bud May who says “There is a feeling of common cause between attached parties on this issue – namely tribes and other reservations. The bottom line is we’ll all be under dictatorial control if something is not done quick”.
This case reminds some of Wounded Knee which was a standoff between the federal government and the Sioux Indian tribe on Pine Ridge in 1890. Some think this will be a replay.
This buyback conforms to the massive buyback program of 10 million acres in the region to be held for the Indians while we are $17 trillion in debt. The feds will serve as the managers. They could let the Indians buy back the land but they want control. That is already a bad omen for Tribal Council 19 who think they landed the sweetest deal of the century – land returned at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer.