Home Campaigns Sioux Nation Treaty Council Difference between the Treaty work and the Environmental work

Difference between the Treaty work and the Environmental work

One of the reasons Defenders was created was to address the destruction of the environment within the Treaty territory. The tribal governments are limited by American law to their reservation (POW camp) boundaries. Defenders is not. As a non-profit environmental organization operating under American law, we are able to help address more issues and help the tribes as well. We are like a megaphone for the tribes.


Secondly, the Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council represents a nation, not an organization. The good work of Tony Black Feather and Garfield Grass Rope at the United Nations also spawned the idea that when we get the Treaty territory back, either through paperwork, or through the work of the spirits (natural forces), then the environment needs to be as healthy as possible, “hecel lena oyate kinipikte,” so the people can live. Therefore, Defenders has always worked hand in hand with the Treaty Council. The Treaty Council was not created by American law and operates for the survival of a nation, the Great Sioux Nation.

Mission Statement

"Defenders of the Black Hills is a group of volunteers without racial or tribal boundaries whose mission is to preserve, protect, and restore the environment of the 1851 and 1868 Treaty Territories, Treaties made between the United States and the Great Sioux Nation."

Speaking about radioactive fallout, the late President John F. Kennedy said,

"Even then, the number of children and grandchildren with cancer in their bones, with leukemia in their blood, or with poison in their lungs might seem statistically small to some, in comparison with natural health hazards. But this is not a natural health hazard and it is not a statistical issue. The loss of even one human life, or the malformation of even one baby who may be born long after we are gone, should be of concern to us all. Our children and grandchildren are not merely statistics toward which we can be indifferent."

July 26, 1963 upon signing the ban on above ground nuclear tests