"Let them be citizens, not wards.

Give them back the Black Hills."

• the teenage suicide rate among Lakota is 150% higher than the U.S. national average

• 84% of Native American women have reported experiencing violence at some point in their lives

• substance abuse affects 8 out of 10 Lakota families

• death rate due to alcoholism and substance abuse is 300% higher than remaining U.S. population

The Problem


1700: Dakota-Lakota Speakers live in upper Mississippi region. Present day, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Dakotas.

1730: Cheyenne people introduce Lakota to horse culture. Lakota society centers on buffalo hunting on horseback.

1750: Conflicts with Anishinaabe and Cree people push the Lakota  to North and South Dakota.

1805: Lakota population first estimated at 8,500 grows steadily and reaches 16,110 in 1881.

1806: First contact with United States marked by a standoff with Lewis and Clark expedition.

1851: U.S Fort Laramie is built on Lakota Land without permission.  U.S states that for protected passage on the Oregon Trail. No Americans can/will settle the land. U.S does not enforce this treaty.

1868: After Lakota/U.S fighting the U.S. signs Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 exempting Black Hills from all white settlement forever.

1872: Gold is discovered in the black hills. Upon the discovery the Laramie treaty is ignored. U.S General George Custer attacks Lakota going so far as to instruct his men to kill the Buffalo to “destroy the indians commissary.”  Eventually preventing the Lakota from hunting buffalo, forcing them onto reservations and into accepting government food.

1890: Chief Sitting Bull is killed and then the U.S Army attacks the Lakota in what becomes known as the “Wounded Knee Massacre” killing as many as 300 Lakota, including women and children.

2018: The total number of Lakota today is 100,000 and they mostly reside near the Sacred Black Hills of South Dakota. They are among the poorest people in America suffering from the highest rates of poverty, alcoholism, and suicide in the country.

The History

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The Solution