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Sylvan Lake Black Hills, South Dakota by Charlene Monfore

Do the Black Hills belong to the Lakota Sioux?

Apr 09, 2021 By: Matthew Monfore Topics: Black Hills, Native Americans, NDN, Nick Tilsen, Racism, Uncategorized, Scripture: Romans 1:18-24; Colossians 1:15-17; Psalm 24:1; 2 Peter 3:10; Acts 17:26; Galatians 5:19-21

By Matthew Monfore April 4th 2021.

The Associated Press via Rapid City Journal, in print on March 25, 2021, ran an article “Tilsen vows to continue fight for Rushmore”.

In the article, Nick Tilsen, leader of NDN, who has been charged with felonies and misdemeanors, amidst breaking a protest agreement with law enforcement at a protest on July 3rd, 2020, when President Donald Trump spoke, stated that:

  • The Black Hills REALLY belong to the Sioux and were stolen
  • The Black Hills are “the heart of everything that is”
  • Mt. Rushmore represents “white supremacy”
  • That he has the true history of this land
  • and that with the new Native American Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, and recent pushes in America for racial equity, they may get public lands like the Black Hills turned over to the tribes.

Is that TRUE though? Now, Native Americans (like Russell Means) may tell you, you can’t trust history or science….But the history books [and the Sioux “winter count/s” apparently, which were pictures on a hide detailing history; there is at least one or two with a pine tree (reportedly representing a first visit to the Black Hills in the 1700’s)] tell us that the Cheyenne and other tribes were in the Black Hills before the Sioux (by the way, if you look at old pictures of the hills when white people came, there weren’t many trees [probably due to uncontrolled fires because there were no towns to protect]; the author has seen an older document that states that “Paha Sapa” [supposedly Lakota for “Black Hills”] meant “beautiful hills”, so it may be that “Black Hills” is a later addition). The Sioux came from Minnesota after being run out by the Chippewa (it is also brought up that the Sioux came from, in or around, the Carolinas). There were other tribes in and around the Black Hills, like the Cheyenne [I grew up in Hot Springs, SD (sothern Black Hills) at the base of Battle Mountain– where it is presumed the Cheyenne and Sioux fought over the territory].

The Sioux were known for war/fighting (though you may find someone who denies this…or virtually all of the history, which SHOULD be debated scientifically between the groups instead of flinging myths and bedtime stories at the opposing side). At least certain land they accessed was (you guessed it) fought for. So, do the Sioux need to pay or give back land to anyone they may have taken from? Are they guilty of “Sioux Supremacy or Sioux-premacy?)

The treaties seem to be tricky business, but when one looks at what has been written; it doesn’t seem like the Natives, who did not understand English, agreed to much, if anything…For example, tribes were supposed to stop fighting each other, but one of the first things Red Cloud said he was going to do after a treaty was fight…For the record, the U.S. government has offered the Sioux money, which, with interest, is A LOT. And, the U.S. Government quit treaties in the late 1800s. How do you make treaties with so many different factions and bands?

There are reports of Native Americans practicing human sacrifice (including Natives in the Mexico region), cannibalism, and slavery. Now, I fully admit the ancestors of the Europeans WERE barbarians (not much different than Native Americans in ways)…so the “we were perfect before the white man came” doesn’t seem to hold weight.

Are the Black Hills “the heart of everything that is”? The Word of God, teaches us that when people reject God and His morality, they start worshipping the creation (Romans 1:18-24)-which includes sun, moon, stars, animals, and the earth. The Black Hills are not the “heart”, nor are they special in a specific religious way. They are merely the creation, and are to point to the Creator- Jesus Christ (Romans 1:20); Colossians 1:15-17). “Worship” is ascribing to anything that which belongs to God alone, like His attributes- creator, sustainer, all-powerful, all-knowing, etc. The Black Hills do none of those things…

Ultimately, the earth belongs to God (Psalm 24:1). It is cursed, and will be destroyed one day (2 Peter 3:10). Until then, it is stewarded by nations as GOD ALLOWS (Acts 17:26); some do so righteously, and others do not. Throughout history God has punished nations for sins by allowing a different nation to defeat, kill, or enslave them. Jesus unites nations through people being spiritually made alive in the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ. Racism will bar you from heaven.

More important, God will judge all people one day (Custer and Sitting Bull alike). He will judge people for pornography, sex before marriage, drunkenness, marijuana, meth, lying, and stealing…in eternal Hell (Galatians 5:19-21). The person to blame for not getting into heaven will be YOU for rejecting this message. God loves you and died, was buried, and rose again; so you can be forgiven and have everlasting life.

Will you come to Jesus today?
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