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Black Hills/White Justice: The Sioux Nation versus the United States, 1775 to the Present

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Black Hills/White Justice tells of the longest active legal battle in United States history: the century-long effort by the Sioux nations to receive compensation for the seizure of the Black Hills. Edward Lazarus, son of one of the lawyers involved in the case, traces the tangled web of laws, wars, and treaties that led to the wresting of the Black Hills from the Sioux and Black Hills/White Justice tells of the longest active legal battle in United States history: the century-long effort by the Sioux nations to receive compensation for the seizure of the Black Hills. Edward Lazarus, son of one of the lawyers involved in the case, traces the tangled web of laws, wars, and treaties that led to the wresting of the Black Hills from the Sioux and their subsequent efforts to receive compensation for the loss. His account covers the Sioux nations’ success in winning the largest financial award ever offered to an Indian tribe and their decision to turn it down and demand nothing less than the return of the land.


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Black Hills/White Justice tells of the longest active legal battle in United States history: the century-long effort by the Sioux nations to receive compensation for the seizure of the Black Hills. Edward Lazarus, son of one of the lawyers involved in the case, traces the tangled web of laws, wars, and treaties that led to the wresting of the Black Hills from the Sioux and Black Hills/White Justice tells of the longest active legal battle in United States history: the century-long effort by the Sioux nations to receive compensation for the seizure of the Black Hills. Edward Lazarus, son of one of the lawyers involved in the case, traces the tangled web of laws, wars, and treaties that led to the wresting of the Black Hills from the Sioux and their subsequent efforts to receive compensation for the loss. His account covers the Sioux nations’ success in winning the largest financial award ever offered to an Indian tribe and their decision to turn it down and demand nothing less than the return of the land.

30 review for Black Hills/White Justice: The Sioux Nation versus the United States, 1775 to the Present

  1. 5 out of 5

    igmuska

    Although the book reads as a sales pitch on how the USA bought the Black Hills from the Lakota, it stills gives a quick read on the entire issue written from the "white" legal perspective. With elements written as an outright attack on Lakota sovereignty and reconciling these attacks as inevitable products of civilization and assimilation, the key point that is most important to our Lakota nation isn't written but must be inferred by direct understanding of the Black Hills issue. Although the book reads as a sales pitch on how the USA bought the Black Hills from the Lakota, it stills gives a quick read on the entire issue written from the "white" legal perspective. With elements written as an outright attack on Lakota sovereignty and reconciling these attacks as inevitable products of civilization and assimilation, the key point that is most important to our Lakota nation isn't written but must be inferred by direct understanding of the Black Hills issue.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    A heartbreaking recounting of the U.S. stealing the Black Hills region from the Sioux tribe. I wasn't quite prepared for the thoroughness of Lazarus's legal history, explaining the minutiae of legal rationale behind every decision and argument. . . though I do understand why he did it. It's a valuable resource for legal scholars or those passionately interested in Native American history. For the casual reader like me, however, it gets really tedious. The first part of the book, where Lazarus tel A heartbreaking recounting of the U.S. stealing the Black Hills region from the Sioux tribe. I wasn't quite prepared for the thoroughness of Lazarus's legal history, explaining the minutiae of legal rationale behind every decision and argument. . . though I do understand why he did it. It's a valuable resource for legal scholars or those passionately interested in Native American history. For the casual reader like me, however, it gets really tedious. The first part of the book, where Lazarus tells the 19th century history of Sioux disenfranchisement, is still quite fascinating. Once we move into the 20th century however, and the battle moves to the courtrooms, I would only recommend this to lawyers, legal scholars, or the greatest of history geeks. I skimmed a lot over the 2nd half of the book. It feels fairly evenhanded in its treatment of the Sioux themselves, although the bias Lazarus displays for his father, one of the main characters in the legal battle, is pretty palpable. Not Bad Reviews @pointblaek

  3. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    This is a slog..and very dry. it's a thick book and covers the entire black hills case, but it's also completely from the white perspective. It's flawed in that it casts the Oceti Sakowin as completely lost in the white man's ways of laws and government. While a great source for the time it came out and those who use it for understanding law and why the black hills are important to the tribes...it's not the greatest ..seek out more sources before completely trusting this text to get the entire p This is a slog..and very dry. it's a thick book and covers the entire black hills case, but it's also completely from the white perspective. It's flawed in that it casts the Oceti Sakowin as completely lost in the white man's ways of laws and government. While a great source for the time it came out and those who use it for understanding law and why the black hills are important to the tribes...it's not the greatest ..seek out more sources before completely trusting this text to get the entire picture of what was happening ( look for Pommersheim, Prucha, Valandra, Deloria, etc)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine Treger

    A thorough documentation of the Native Americans/indigenous people’s struggle with white colonists who stole land and tried to annihilate their way of life. Documents legal battles, which Native Americans had know way of understanding this system of “owning” land. From attorney perspective, not Native American.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

    I read this book while writing my Master's thesis. I loved it, but it's HEAVY (in topic, length, and writing style) which is why I gave it a 3 star rating. It was amazing, and I learned so much from it - but it was a slog to get through. I read this book while writing my Master's thesis. I loved it, but it's HEAVY (in topic, length, and writing style) which is why I gave it a 3 star rating. It was amazing, and I learned so much from it - but it was a slog to get through.

  6. 5 out of 5

    =====D

    Reading this book made me want to re-read Richard White's "The Middle Ground," the review of that one here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... The two books in combination paint a picture of Indian-White relations as more complicated than the usual models of today allow, but essentially the same in general: Indians lived in North America, mostly peacefully (their warfare amounting to cub-scout stuff compared to the kind whites brought with them), then white people came and everything went to Reading this book made me want to re-read Richard White's "The Middle Ground," the review of that one here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... The two books in combination paint a picture of Indian-White relations as more complicated than the usual models of today allow, but essentially the same in general: Indians lived in North America, mostly peacefully (their warfare amounting to cub-scout stuff compared to the kind whites brought with them), then white people came and everything went to shit for the Indians while the whites gleefully looked on--when not scalping the Injuns. That said, it's hard to blame the whites: in the final analysis, they come off as slaves of a way of life they don't understand and for the most part can't shake. Once the whites were here, Indians seem to have begun to behave very much the same as them, in very quick order: cruelty, genocidal wars, status-seeking on an unprecedented scale as the presence of the whites offered unprecedented opportunities for power-hoarding on a scale previously unknown to most North American Indians. It seems that no free will is to be found among the actors of these accounts-- they are all acting out programs written for them by their respective cultural arrangements. I'm not sure if this is a good way to look at things, for the alternative, Fredy Perlman's "The Strait" offers a human-scale history of the events narrated in Richard White's book. There, the conflict seems to be replayed in each person involved and with each generation, becoming more hopeless with the passing of each one. The Sioux were the last major native group to cross paths with the whites, and with the benefit of the others' accumulated experience, they fared no better in the end. Most of this book is about the compensation claims filed by the Sioux over the taking of the Black Hills and other lands in the second half of the 19th century. They fought these in courts for the better part of the 20th century, and eventually won. Yet, as the author makes clear, even with an extra $100 million, the Sioux are a lost people. The Sioux come off as petty, stupid, and self-aggrandizing in this struggle*, only succeeding on the terms of the white culture, and very rarely then. There is no question of success on Sioux terms, as those were destroyed in the 1880s with the last of the buffalo. It seems that Richard White's "middle ground" concept only applies when the balance of power on the ground can be kept in rough equilibrium. No such space exists after the conquerors corral the conquered into pens. This book excels as a history of the callous impunity with which a dominant civilization can conquer another people and then reduce it to the status it always claimed for it in its propaganda. When a society based on greed overpowers other, perhaps less avaricious societies, the survivors don't cling to the old ways of their culture, they want revenge on the terms of their conquerors. *I don't want to be mis-understood- I don't think the Sioux are any of those things, but it's hard not to come to this conclusion after reading the book's account. As a side note, I just traveled through the Black Hills, stunned by the beauty of that surprising landscape ("Island in the sky" indeed, appearing as it does right after the badlands). Much of my time in the area, I kept the radio on the Sioux station, which broadcast a remarkable kind of music for the better portion of the two days I was there. It was a never-ending chant, mostly voice with a sparse and droning drum as accompaniment. The tone of the song was nothing short of apocalyptic: it was an incredibly moving and terrifying music. It was more moving for its apparently purposeful lack of aesthetic emphasis-- one could imagine this being the song to which the entire settlement of cornered and defeated Indians jumps off of a cliff to avoid captivity, torture and rape at the hands of the victorious whites. In light of what I've read about reservation life (Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt by Chris Hedges, and elsewhere), this soundtrack seems fitting, and yet it made my hair stand on end. It is in its tone similar to much ghetto rap music these days-- the sound of catharsis and anxiety, which allows for no negotiation and future planning. If that makes sense.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Claire S

    In this case, is 'content - Native American', definitely not pov! Interesting to read the reviews here and on Amazon about the bias of the writer - on Amazon they mention he's the son of one of the govt's lawyers in the case. Also, this from an Amazon review (referring in part to a second book by this same author): The later book is more of a Shakespearean tragedy, with the worst characters having redeeming (or redeemable) qualities. In a phrase, Lazarus has lost, by the time of this later book's w In this case, is 'content - Native American', definitely not pov! Interesting to read the reviews here and on Amazon about the bias of the writer - on Amazon they mention he's the son of one of the govt's lawyers in the case. Also, this from an Amazon review (referring in part to a second book by this same author): The later book is more of a Shakespearean tragedy, with the worst characters having redeeming (or redeemable) qualities. In a phrase, Lazarus has lost, by the time of this later book's writing, the "scorched earth" mentality that carried him into his earlier work. I suspect he got that mentality, largely, in law school. I think, as elder bungler Case might have said sheepishly,that that's a damn' shame and not necessary. If law is indeed a conversation, you can't have a conversation with someone if you are constantly calling him or her, in your mind or under your breath, a damn' fool. Speaking of Jewishness, I believe the Old Testament, one of the Wisdom Books, says somewhere that the person who calls someone else a fool (a rakah?) will not be forgiven. That's not an epiphany--it's the experience of neighbors who distrust anyone who badmouths an absent neighbor: what will this guy say about you when your back is turned? If you're not a good citizen, you're not going to be a good lawyer. With that perspective in mind, will keep for a while longer in case my daughter or I get around to it.. otherwise will skim and pass along to a library for the greater good. As I know in my bones the overall facts of the case, and am not a legal student.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Pamela_b_lawrencemsn.com

    Excellent book about first, the U.S conquest of the Sioux Indians, including substantial perfidy in treaty-making, and then the story of the ultimately successful lawsuit by the Sioux nation seeking compensation for lands promised them in treaties. A labor of love by the author, the son of one of the lawyers who was ultimately won the case against all odds. Well-written (although some of the descriptions of the legal wrangling may be a little heavy going, but they are quite minimal and can be sk Excellent book about first, the U.S conquest of the Sioux Indians, including substantial perfidy in treaty-making, and then the story of the ultimately successful lawsuit by the Sioux nation seeking compensation for lands promised them in treaties. A labor of love by the author, the son of one of the lawyers who was ultimately won the case against all odds. Well-written (although some of the descriptions of the legal wrangling may be a little heavy going, but they are quite minimal and can be skipped, the author does provide the important outcomes in plain English) and thoroughly researched. I read it right after Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, and having read the former enriched my reading of this book, but it's not essential to appreciate the complicated story of the sad interactions. The book was published was in 1990, and I am curious about what happened since. Of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and this one, I'd pick the former for a broad view of Indian history, but I recommend both.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dave Donahoe

    An outstanding legal history that shows, in some ways, the result of colonization is far worse than the wars and taking of lands. This book could have floundered under dense legal jargon, but, instead, is eminently accessible and should be read by anyone interested in American or Native American history. An exceptional read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alisa

    I read this about 20 years ago. It remains seared in my memory. I knew very little about the Black Hills before I read it. That it was written by the son of the lawyer who was involved in the case for so many years made it a poignantly personal translation of a well-researched and thoroughly documented case history.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lark

    Excellent historical analysis. Rather biased legal analysis.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Despite the engaging history and compelling legal issues examined richly in this book, I found myself falling asleep while reading it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Doug Dalglish

    An important topic when trying to understand U.S. history

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kim Voeltz

  15. 4 out of 5

    Martin LaLonde

  16. 5 out of 5

    Denny

  17. 5 out of 5

    Joe Johnson

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bruce

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sheri Mcgowan

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jay

  21. 5 out of 5

    Eric Lunsford

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kent Gerber

  23. 5 out of 5

    A

  24. 5 out of 5

    Robert

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dennis Hart

  26. 5 out of 5

    Keith

  27. 4 out of 5

    bookmouse

  28. 4 out of 5

    Meredythe

  29. 4 out of 5

    Pat Hinds

  30. 5 out of 5

    John

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