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Sioux and Cree Reach Historic Agreement

"Work begins on Treaty"

Wakpa Mniluzahan (Rapid City, SD)-- Taking the first steps to re-establish diplomatic relations, representatives from the Kakisiwew-Ochapowace Nehiyewak (Cree) and the Tetuwan Oyate (Teton Sioux Nation) reached an agreement on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2009, at a 2-day meeting of the Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council.  Now work will begin on the development of an International Treaty aimed to benefit the people of both nations. (See attached Agreement)

The efforts stem from May, 2009, at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), when representatives from both nations joined forces in a recommendation that was approved. Hundreds of Indigenous representatives present recommendations to the UNPFII during their annual meeting so the approval of a recommendation is monumental. The recommendation brought forward by the Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council with the concurrance of the Kakisiwew-Ochapowace Nehiyewak asked that the World Health Organization study the health impacts of nuclear radioactive pollution on all Indigenous Peoples and Nations of the World. The study would include the Kakisiwew-Ochapowace Nehiyewak (Cree) and the Tetuwan Oyate (Teton Sioux). Some of the first mining for uranium, prior to and during World War II, began on the Kakisiwew-Ochapowace Nehiyewak (Cree) territory. Uranium mining in the Treaty territory of the Sioux began in the 1950s. The impacts to human health are becoming rampant today.

"This is the first time that the World Health Organization has been charged with studying the health effects on Indigenous Peoples," said Wesley George, representative for the Kakisiwew-Ochapowace Nehiyewak. "When Charmaine [White Face] introduced the recommendation," he added, "we supported the recommendation, and it passed. That was a great, historic moment! It was the first time the World Health Organization was charged with looking at health effects only on Indigenous Peoples."

Charmaine White Face is the Spokesperson for the Tetuwan Oyate Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council (TSNTC). She has been attending various meetings at the United Nations for the past eight years following her predecessor, the former Antoine Black Feather who died in 2004. The Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council was originally created as the Sioux Nation Treaty Council in 1893 by Chief He Dog, a contemporary of Chief Crazy Horse. The TSNTC has operated continuously since that time.

The success experienced at the PFII this past spring in New York City started the wheels to re-establish diplomatic relations between both nations. The Cree and the Sioux, although thought to be enemies by the wasicu [white man], were two of the largest nations in North America. Diplomatic relations did exist between these two Indigenous nations for millenia but were interrupted for the past 150 years with the colonizing of Turtle Island (North America). Now those relationships are being revitalized.

George presented the first draft of an Agreement on International Treaty and Diplomatic Relations between the Tetuwan Oyate and Kakisiwew-Ochapowace Nehiyewak during a Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council meeting held July 27, 2009. The first draft was sent to more than 800 people with the Minutes of that meeting. More drafts were worked on with the final draft presented during the TSNTC meeting on Sept. 1, 2009. This Agreement begins the process of developing an International Treaty between the two nations.

After the meeting, a short prayer ceremony spoken in the languages of both nations was held then the two representatives signed the Agreement with their traditional names, not their colonized names, further restating this act of sovereignty and self-determination. Kaskitewikihew Kapapmahat, or Black Eagle that Flies High, is the Kakisiwew-Ochapowace Nehiyewak name of Wesley George. Zumila Wobaga, or A Little Wise One Who Makes a Mark, is the common Tetuwan name for Charmaine White Face. Witnesses to the signing were Tetuwan members and elders: John W. Long Sr., Clifford White Eyes, Sr., and Janice Badhorse Larson. Members witnessing the signing from Kakisiwew-Ochapowace Nehiyewak were Erroll J. Kinistino and Mabel George.

Work now begins on drafting the Treaty which will be archived in the United Nations Treaty Registry and other International bodies or institutions for enforcement and monitoring.

"I don't want my grandchildren to have to fight what we have to fight now," said George. "We should not put that on our grandchildren and need to do something now."

White Face further stated, "What we are trying to accomplish with this Agreement will help the children and grandchildren and the future of both of our nations."

Sioux and Cree Reach Historic Agreement
Sioux and Cree Reach Historic Agreement



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