SIOUX LEADERS AT CONFERENCE IN WASHINGTON, DC REJECT GOVERNMENT REQUEST FOR FURTHER CESSIONS FROM THE GREAT SIOUX RESERVATION
Under the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie, the Sioux ceded an immense tract of land in Dakota & Wyoming, retaining the southwest corner of Dakota as the Great Sioux Reservation (GSR). In 1882, the Secretary of the Interior sent a commission to obtain Sioux consent for treaty changes whereby they would cede half of their remaining lands–the impetus was a railroad line across the reservation. Suspecting treachery, Sioux leaders did not sign. On February 7, 1888, Congress passed the Dawes General Allotment Act (Act). In April 1888, after a 2nd commission to get Sioux approval failed, a “Grand Council” was called for in Washington. Over 60 Sioux leaders attended. The purpose was to discuss the Act’s implementation on the GSR, specifically: (1) division, rationing & allotment of tribal lands to Sioux individuals; and (2) sale of excess’ lands to white settlers. Despite pressure by the Interior Secretary to sign without consulting their people, the Sioux leaders refused. Nevertheless, the Dawes Act implementation went forward.
Sources: “Sitting Bull A Life in Photos,” Indian Country Today, 6/12/2015. Retrieved 3/31/2022, Sitting Bull A Life in Photos - Indian Country Today T. A. Bland, “A History of the Sioux Agreement: Some Facts Which Should Not Be Forgotten,” Washington, D.C., 1888. Retrieved 3/31/2022, Title Page (minotstateu.edu). Note: Dr. Thomas A Bland, a Quaker, founded the National Indian Defense Association. Photo: C.M. Bell (1849-93), 1888. Sioux Chiefs & US Commissioners 1888. Public Domain. Source: United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under Digital ID: ds 14112 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ds.14112, the call number LOT 12566, Control Number 2004665248