North-South-East-West: American Indians and the Natural World

Winter Count: 1979–1985

1979 1979–1980: Not-For-Sale Winter

The Supreme Court awarded the Lakota $106 million for the illegal seizure of the Black Hills. The tribes refused to accept the money. These are sacred lands, not for sale.

1980 1980–1981: Winter of Shelter

The newly opened White Buffalo Calf Women's Shelter signifies an era of social responsibility. A local coalition of strong Lakota women braved social criticism for championing causes many preferred not to discuss.

1981 1981–1982: Sickened-Heart Winter

Shock waves were sent through the reservation because of two crimes: (1) the brutal murder of a woman in an alcohol-related act of domestic violence, and (2) a case of sexual abuse. These acts led to grass-roots prevention movements.

1982 1982–1983: Resources Winter

The Indian Mineral Development Act allowed tribes to develop their natural resources.

1983 1983–1984: Feather-Bust Winter

A federal "sting" operation was aimed at prosecuting anyone selling feathers from endangered species. This conflicted with many Lakota's steadfast belief in the right to have these feathers for religious purposes.

1984 1984–1985: Still-No-Sale Winter

The Supreme Court awarded the Lakota $40 million because the people were undercompensated for lands lost in the 1868 treaty. Again the tribal governments refused to accept the money because sacred lands are not for sale.

1985 1985–1986: Black-Hills Bill Winter

Senator Bill Bradley tried to help the Lakota by introducing a bill in Congress proposing the return of a parcel of federal lands in the Black Hills to the Lakota nation. The bill quietly died from lack of congressional support.

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