until the federal government changes how it interacts with tribal governments, protests over development projects in Indian Country—like the one at Standing Rock in North Dakota—are likely to continue and grow. “While we have very good laws on the books, they’re a procedural form of justice and not a substantive form of justice,” says Tsosie. “If that’s what we have been doing as a nation, then what’s the corrective?”

The Great Father has been for many years caring for his red children across the mountains; there (pointing East) many treaties have been made. Many councils have been held; and there it had been found that with farms and with schools and with shops and with laws the red man could be protected.

Why do I say laws? What has made trouble between the white man and the red man? Did Lewis and Clark make trouble? they came from the Great Father; did I and mine make trouble? No! but the trouble had been made generally by bad white men and the Great Father knows it, hence laws.

The Great Father therefore desires to make arrangements so you can be protected from these bad white men, and so they can be punished for their misdeeds; and the Great Father expects you will treat his white children as he will make a law they shall treat you. We are now in council to see if we can arrange the terms which will carry this into effect.

Let us go back to old times across the mountains and see what was there done: the red man received the white man gladly; but after a while difficulties arose; the blood of the red man was spilled and the blood of the white man; there was cold; there was hunger; there was death. But a man came, William Penn, and said I will see if my white children and my red children cannot be friends, and they were friends: Wm Penn and the Indians came together as we now come together; they made a Treaty; there was peace; and no white mans blood and no red mans blood had been shed, and there has been peace to this day; this was in olden times.

Oh! these people said we too will make treaties; we too will live in peace. They tried various plans, a plan that worked well when there were but few whites, did not work well when there were many. It was found that when the white man and the red man lived together on the same ground, the white man got the advantages and the red man passed away.

The Great Fathers name at that time was Andrew Jackson: he said I will take the red man across a great river into a fine country where I can take care of them; they have been there twenty years; they have their government, they have their schools, they have their own laws; their Cheif John Ross knows as much as my brother or myself and a great deal more; he is what you call a Lawyer: he is an Indian, a Cherokee. When he goes to see the Great Father, the President, he sits with him at table as you sit with us at table.


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