Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Native Americans Sue Feds For Land

By Sue Schuurman

JULY 27, 1998: 

73 Years Ago This Week

While on one hand we can credit the Albuquerque Morning Journal for putting the following story of Native demands for justice on the front page, on the other hand, the pejorative language used-- "redskins," "great white father"--makes us wonder just how seriously editors took the issue. Perhaps a subtle message was being sent: It's ludicrous for the conquered to dictate to the conqueror.

"Redskins Believe That Property Has Been Taken From Them in Violation of Treaties With U.S.

"Washington (AP)--Five tribes of Indians, now resident in Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and Washington, have turned to the courts of their great white father seeking restoration or money of value of lands they believe have been taken from them in violation of sacred treaties with the federal government.

"Through the years since 1855, Indians of the Blackfeet, Nez Perce, Blood, Piegan and Gros Ventre tribes believe the white father has been taking from them, slowly but surely, lands reserved to them for hunting, fishing and camping. Some of the lands comprise parts of Yellowstone and Glacier National parks.

"Under a special act of congress, passed a year and a half ago, Indians through their attorneys filed a suit against the federal government for $68,707,343 believed due them, as remuneration for withdrawal from lands their ancestors sought to save through treaties with the government.

"Their lengthy petition alleges countless violations of Indian rights as set down in the treaties of 1855, 1868 and 1869.

"Not only were their lands, hunting and fishing grounds taken from them, the petition says, but the government failed to carry out its own commitments as to gratuities and the payment of funds with which the Indians were to be educated to ways of the white men. There is due also, the petition continues, many millions of dollars as royalties from prosecution of mining development which the white men did. ...

"It is difficult for Department of Justice officials to estimate the amount of land involved in the Indian action, but it is generally regarded as in excess of twenty-five million acres. Under the treaty of 1855, it was reserved to the Indians for 99 years. Yet they enjoyed it only a few years. ..."

--compiled by Susan Schuurman

Source: Albuquerque Morning Journal;

July 24, 1925

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