Wintertime for the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate: Over One Hundred Fifty Years of Human Rights Violations by the United States and the Need for a Reconciliation Involving International Indigenous Human Rights Norms
53 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2013
Date Written: March 12, 2013
This article will discuss the human rights violations perpetrated against the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota peoples leading up to the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, during the War, and in the aftermath of the War continuing to the present day. In discussing these human rights violations, the role of the United States government and its component state governments as perpetrators of abuses on the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate peoples will be examined. Racial hatred by white U.S. citizens and officials will be examined as a primary motivation for the human rights abuses experienced by the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate peoples. Finally, the article will present the human rights outlined in the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN DRIP) as the proper standards to be accorded to the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate and its people. With the realization of the human rights outlined in the UN DRIP, the future for the SWO would be significantly brightened as when spring arrives after a long winter.
Over time the citizens of nation-states around the world have broadened their vision of human rights and developed a greater sense of compassion towards Indigenous peoples. This evolution in the recognition of collective human rights was embodied in the 2007 UN DRIP. After centuries of colonization and exploitation of Indigenous peoples, the world community has begun to rethink treatment towards Indigenous populations.
This article will bring these standards to bear on the relationship between the U.S. government and the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate. By comparing the historical and contemporary treatment of the SWO under U.S. law to the UN DRIP’s standards, the need to reconcile historical and contemporary injustices will be highlighted. This reconciliation requires a more compassionate, mature, and wise application of human rights protections to the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate peoples in the aftermath of the U.S.-Dakota War.
Keywords: Tribal Sovereignty, International Indigenous, U.S.-Indian Relations, Human Rights
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